Conspiracy studies starts at the age of fourteen


Conspiracy scholarship sees in historical events the result of the activities of a secret group of comrades. Sometimes even not only individual historical events, but in general the entire course of history and even our entire surrounding everyday life are interpreted in the same sense. That is, even for bread, we cannot go without the guidance of powerful behind-the-scenes puppeteers. These puppeteers are credited with supernatural ability to control and manage the most complex social and political processes. The range of fantasy in conspiracy theories is quite large. Someone is limited to one country and more or less familiar technologies, someone speaks of a world government consisting either of representatives of one nationality, or of aliens.

Perhaps all this would not be worth paying attention to, but conspiracy theorists are not closed on themselves. They have an active opinion on various burning issues, for example, about environmental issues and about vaccines. If someone remembers the words about “chipping with a vaccine”, then this is just it. Naturally, psychologists and sociologists are very interested in where such ideas come from and how they develop. There is no shortage of such studies, but they are usually carried out with adults.

In this sense, the authors of a recent article in British Journal of Developmental Psychology acted in a rather original way, deciding to check how things are with conspiracy theories in children. Northumbria University staff, Glasgow University and other scientific centers in Great Britain compiled several dozen questions with the help of which it was possible to assess the degree of a person’s faith in conspiracy theories. Actually, these were not so much questions as statements like “secret organizations influence many political decisions.” One could disagree with such a statement at all, disagree rather than agree, and so on, up to full agreement. The agreement / disagreement scale offered seven answers.

The researchers extended their conspiracy thesis test to secondary school teachers with students over 11 years old, who had to offer the test to their students. As a result, it turned out that among adolescents conspiracy theories strengthened by the age of 14 – that is, by this age they are more ready to believe in ruling aliens and so on. If we assume that with age the ability to observe, compare, analyze, contrast, etc. should develop, then those who are inclined to conspiracy theories to gray hair can be congratulated – they remained forever young at heart.

In the UK, where the study was conducted, about 60% of people believe in at least one conspiracy theory. Perhaps there is some connection with these very fourteen years. It would be interesting to conduct the same experiment in schools and universities in other countries, and compare the results with general conspiracy statistics.

Finally, not every teenager is equally inclined to believe in something like this. Here it is necessary to find out what exactly pushes young people to be interested in conspiracy theories, and what happens to them later – that is, why someone can forget about them over time, and someone, having matured, continues to believe in the world government.


Source: Автономная некоммерческая организация "Редакция журнала «Наука и жизнь»" by www.nkj.ru.

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