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  • Conspiracy theories have been around for centuries.

  • In fact, many historians believe that the

  • American Declaration of Independence was created in response to a potential British plot

  • that actually didn't exist. And while you may not think that you believe in any conspiracy theories,

  • they follow such an effective, cognitive formula that you might believe in one right now without even realizing it.

  • (Watch his eyes)

  • Shocking footage has emerged of Justin Bieber that appears to show transformed into a giant lizard. Boom

  • Studies have found that actually over 50% of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory.

  • YouTube and other social media platforms have come under a lot of fire for conspiracy theory content proliferation online,

  • so we wanted to investigate two things. One: whether or not there has been a measurable rise in conspiracy theories in recent years.

  • And two: how conspiracy theories work to manipulate your brain so you can better defend yourself against their tactics and

  • ultimately find out what it means if you believe in one in the first place.

  • From an evolutionary perspective,

  • biologists hypothesised that we've been programmed to fall for conspiracy theories as a protective measure. As hunter-gatherers,

  • violence was a common cause for danger, and so being able to identify conspirators

  • became an evolutionary advantage. This theory was eventually developed into something that smart academics refer to as the adaptive

  • conspiracism hypothesis. The hypothesis is essentially this: if you're walking in the jungle, and you see a snake

  • but it's actually just a stick, okay, that's embarrassing, but you're still alive. Phew.

  • But if you're walking in the jungle and you see a stick, no biggie, but it's actually a snake, okay,

  • oops, you step on it, it bites you, now you're dead.

  • This explains how our brains have been programmed into thinking ''better safe than sorry'' when it comes to survival.

  • In short we fall for conspiracy theories because they seem like the safer option.

  • It feels a lot better to be prepared for an enemy attack

  • that might not even be there, than to not be prepared at all.

  • This brings us to a pattern found in many conspiracy theories that makes them so

  • effective. And it's called the illusory pattern perception. The illusory pattern perception is a cognitive bias

  • we humans have evolved. We tend to notice patterns within random stimuli in order to create conceptual meaning behind the world we live in.

  • Let's take a simple example of this scenario: if you flipped a coin three times

  • and each time you got heads, what do you think would happen next?

  • If you're unlikely to fall victim to the illusory pattern perception

  • of conspiracy theories, you'd say there was always a 50/50 chance that you get either heads or tails.

  • Because obviously the flips you got before have no impact on the flip you get next.

  • But others who are more prone to illusory pattern perception, well, think they're more likely get tails as three heads in a row?

  • ''That's insane. It has to be tails next!'' They're noticing a pattern and creating a meaning behind it.

  • We were deeply entertained by Shane Dawson's conspiracy theory videos. They made us LOL and the music was extremely effective.

  • It's like move over Hans Zimmer. There's a new gun in town

  • When we started to apply our research to Shane's videos, whether he intended it or not, we could see the illusory pattern perception.

  • He establishes a pattern and then directly correlates it to something bigger. For example, while at Chuck E. Cheese

  • they noticed that some of the pizza slices aren't lining up perfectly and then start to think that maybe there are old recycled pieces.

  • Pictures of the pieces that don't fit together. (That is pretty crazy)

  • (It never lines up)

  • They then see another piece of the pattern: an employee who's looking at an old pizza

  • to see whether or not it's good enough to recycle.

  • Again these are just pieces of information that are strung together to form a theory

  • that's not necessarily substantiated. Even though there's no solid evidence. It's really entertaining and really enticing

  • But what's most interesting is that some people might be more convinced based on their biology.

  • Being vulnerable to conspiracy theories has been directly linked to dopamine in your brain. In one study after participants were given a drug to

  • increase dopamine levels,

  • they were more likely to exhibit the illusory pattern perception.

  • Another study showed that people with genetically higher levels of free dopamine in their brains were more likely to believe in one or more

  • conspiracy theories. On top of this if you have feelings of anxiety, uncertainty

  • or powerlessness, it can encourage you to search for order within chaos.

  • One study showed participants paintings that were very orderly by Victor Vasarely, and

  • paintings with a lot of disorder by Jackson Pollock. The participants were then asked to look for patterns.

  • Everybody was able to see patterns in the orderly Vasarely paintings,

  • but those who found more pattern in the disordered Jackson Pollocks were also more likely to believe in

  • conspiracy theories. Just to be clear, falling for conspiracy theories does not mean that you are stupid.

  • As humans, we are brilliant, smart animals, like, for example, if I ever need an ego boost

  • I just go up to my dog and I'm like ''Literally, compared to me

  • you're so dumb'', but our brains are susceptible,

  • and this is why we need to be talking about why conspiracy theories may be damaging our society. Studies show that right now

  • 37% of Americans believe in the conspiracy theory that global warming is a hoax.

  • Of course, the scientific consensus is that not only does it exist,

  • but it's having an immense impact on our environments and our economy, as well as displacing and killing people.

  • 20% of Americans still believe the conspiracy theory that vaccines cause autism.

  • This one has been extremely rampant on YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest, and has been helped by celebrities like Charlie Sheen and

  • Kristin Cavallari. Not sure if it's smart to be taking medical advice about safety from someone who casually walks in the middle of the street.

  • Science again proves that vaccines are one of the most effective ways to prevent disease and

  • the proliferation of these

  • vaccine hesitancy conspiracy theories online are the reason that measles are now having new outbreaks all over America, in the world and also the

  • WHO claims that vaccine hesitancy is the third largest threat to global health this year. Where this all comes to head is the

  • proliferation of conspiracy theories by algorithms. Like our favourite, notorious and elusive

  • YouTube algorithm. We're talking to you right now on a platform that is controlled by an algorithm designed to keep you here longer and have

  • you enjoying everything you consume. So you can bet that if you watch a video that's an hour long about conspiracy theories,

  • it's gonna know and think you like that and start suggesting stuff to you.

  • But it's not likely to be the overly pedantic or nuanced or calm videos,

  • but rather the really emotionally intense and stuff that you know might contain misinformation.

  • Combine the technological algorithm with your brainy

  • biological algorithm and you can see why YouTube has a problem on their hands.

  • Former YouTube software engineer Guillaume Chaslot started to speak about how YouTube would actually target vulnerable people to show them

  • conspiracy theory videos to keep them on the platform for longer.

  • He even created a website called AlgoTransparency that you can go on right now and what it does is it shows you the top

  • YouTube channels and the videos that they are currently recommending. While we were researching this video at the current time

  • we went on the website and the top four videos being recommended had to do with conspiracy theories or secret information.

  • You can go check it right now. Like, it will be different.

  • It's very interesting to sort of like just keep up and check out what it is that YouTube is suggesting to the world right now.

  • But interestingly, scholars have actually studied the prevalence of conspiracy theories through the years and it actually remains pretty consistent.

  • They do, however, say that the Internet has displaced the gatekeepers, the producers, editors and scholars who decide what is worthy of

  • dissemination. This has caused YouTube and other platforms to start actually taking action: like Pinterest has actually banned all

  • conversations about vaccines until they can figure out how to manage and stop the spread of misinformation.

  • And YouTube doesn't take down the videos as of now, but they do demonetise anti-vax videos.

  • YouTube has also started putting little Wikipedia blurbs underneath videos that may contain misinformation and they claim to be reducing

  • recommendations of borderline content.

  • So now you know from an evolutionary perspective why we might fall for conspiracy theories and the common cognitive formula that makes them work

  • so well. And lastly, why, from a biological perspective, you might be more susceptible.

  • You can check out our podcast

  • for more information about conspiracy theories because it's where I found out that Mitch was obsessed with them growing up.

  • I, yeah, growing up, I used to love a lot of conspiracy theories

  • I name, uh, some of them in the podcast so you should listen to that.

  • I think Avril Lavigne is dead and been replaced by some body double

  • So, check over there and we'll put some links in the description. Otherwise, subscribe and we'll be back next time for a new video!

  • See ya

Conspiracy theories have been around for centuries.

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陰謀論成功的真正原因 (The real reason conspiracy theories work)

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    Summer 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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