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After reading that article, participants were also asked to read about the CIA’s Duelfer report, which showed that the Bush administration was wrong to think Iraq had such weapons.
Finally, they were again asked their opinion of the original statement on the same five-point scale.
The real truth is that, as weird as they are, rumors and conspiracy theories can only thrive in the minds of people who are predisposed to believe them.
Successful propagators of fringe theories don’t just send random balloons into the atmosphere.
Therefore, we tend to reject theories and rumors -- and facts and truths -- that challenge our worldview and embrace those that affirm it. Knapp’s 1944 thesis that rumors “express and gratify the emotional needs” of communities during periods of social duress.
It’s easy to assume that lack of education is the culprit when it comes to people believing rumors against logic and evidence -- for instance, that Barack Obama, whose mother was an American citizen and whose state of birth has repeatedly said his birth records are in good order, isn’t a legitimate American citizen. They arise, in his view, to “express in simple and rationalized terms the uncertainties and hostilities which so many feel.”If, on the one hand, you think you should blame rumor-mongers and rumor believers for not doing their homework, you can, on the other hand, give them credit for striving pretty hard to explain phenomena they find threatening.
If you feel like you’re a great writer and your essay fits all our criteria, then you’re likely eligible for this writing contest. It is possible to see the world without breaking your bank.
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that someone’s not after you.
Rather, they tap into the preexisting beliefs and biases of their target audiences.
Plenty of studies have shown that people don’t process information in a neutral way -- “biased assimilation” they call it.