In this post ‘truth’ environment, it seems that more and more brains are disconnecting from the struggle to make sense of reality - instead satisfying themselves by withdrawing to the comfort of their own minds nested in a protective shell against inconvenient outside truths, er, realities.
When does incredulity become paranoia? Radio personality and filmmaker Alex Jones believes an evil cabal of bankers rules the world. By John Gartner Ph.D., published on September 1, 2009 https://www[DOT]psychologytoday[DOT]com/articles/200909/field-guide-the-conspiracy-theorist-dark-minds ... We're all conspiracy theorists to some degree. We're all hardwired to find patterns in our environment, particularly those that might represent a threat to us. And when things go wrong, we find ourselves searching for what, or who, is behind it. In his 1954 classic, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, historian Richard Hofstadter hypothesized that conspiracy thinking is fueled by underlying feelings of alienation and helplessness. Research supports his theory. New Mexico State University psychologist Marina Abalakina-Paap has found that people who endorse conspiracy theories are especially likely to feel angry, mistrustful, alienated from society, and helpless over larger forces controlling their lives. ... Information is the conspiracy theorists' weapon of choice because if there's one thing they all agree on, it's that all the rest of us have been brainwashed. The "facts" will plainly reveal the existence of the conspiracy, they believe. And while all of us tend to bend information to fit our pre-existing cognitive schema, conspiracy theorists are more extreme. They are "immune to evidence," discounting contradictory information or seeing it as "proof of how clever the enemy is at covering things up," Goertzel says. Conspiracy theories exist on a spectrum from mild suspicion to full-on paranoia, and brain chemistry may play a role. Dopamine rewards us for noting patterns and finding meaning in sometimes-insignificant events. It's long been known that schizophrenics overproduce dopamine. "The earliest stages of delusion are characterized by an overabundance of meaningful coincidences," explain Paul D. Morrison and R.M. Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London. "Jumping to conclusions" is a common reasoning style among the paranoid, find Daniel Freeman and his colleagues, also at the Institute of Psychiatry. ... John Gartner is an author and PT blogger. Read his blog now: The Roving Psychologist.Connect the Dots How susceptible are you to conspiracy beliefs? Rate your agreement with the statements below, from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree.For the most part, government serves the interests of a few organized groups, such as business, and isn't very concerned about the needs of people like myself. I have trouble doing what I want to do in the world today. It is difficult for people like myself to have much influence in public affairs. We seem to live in a pretty irrational and disordered world. I don't trust that my closest friends would not lie to me.Answer key: 5-11: weakly, 12-18: moderately, 19-25: strongly (Adapted from a scale developed by Patrick Leman)