"Conspiracy Theories" Again.

This just came out from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.

Research shows that when people perceive they have no control over a given situation, they are more likely to see illusions, patterns where none exist and even believe in conspiracy theories. The study suggests that people impose imaginary order when no real order can be perceived.

"People see false patterns in all types of data," says Jennifer Whitson, one of the authors of the report, "...This suggests that lacking control leads to a visceral need for order — even imaginary order."


Here's a little more detail from a site called news-medical.net/?id=41844

Medical Research News

New research suggests that the reason why people carry out rituals such as touching wood or wearing a 'lucky' item or some other behavior, is because they are experiencing a loss of control in their lives.

The researchers at Northwestern University Illinois in the U.S. say these rituals and superstitions and conspiratorial explanations are an attempt to find and impose order on an unruly world.

They have linked the feeling of chaos to how individual perceive events and say the quest for structure or understanding leads people to trick themselves into seeing and believing connections that simply don't exist.

Professor Adam Galinsky and lead author Jennifer Whitson, an assistant professor at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin, by means of a series of six experiments, showed that individuals who lacked control were more likely to see images that did not exist, perceive conspiracies and develop superstitions.

Professor Galinsky says the less control people have over their lives, the more likely they are to try and regain control through mental gymnastics.

Galinsky says feelings of control are so important to people that a lack of control is inherently threatening and while some misperceptions can be bad or lead one astray, they're extremely common and most likely satisfy a deep and enduring psychological need.

According to Whitson, that psychological need is for control, and the ability to minimize uncertainty and predict beneficial courses of action.

The researchers suggest that in situations where someone has little control, an individual may prefer to believe that mysterious, unseen mechanisms are secretly at work.

In order to test this theory, the researchers created a number of situations characterized by lack of control and then measured whether people saw a variety of illusory patterns.

In one experiment individuals were asked to look at "snowy" pictures, half of which were grainy patterns of random dots, while the other half contained images such as a chair, a boat, or the planet Saturn, that were faintly visible against the grainy background.

While all people correctly identified 95% of the hidden images, the group of people who had felt their control had been eroded in a previous part of the experiment also "saw" images in 43% of the pictures that were just random scatterings of dots.

Whitson says this suggests that lacking control leads to a visceral need for order - even imaginary order and people see false patterns in all types of data, imagining trends in stock markets, seeing faces in static, and detecting conspiracies between acquaintances.

In order to better understand superstitions, Whitson and Galinsky asked a group of individuals to write about situations they had experienced - half of them recalled situations in which they had control, while the other half detailed paralyzing instances of a loss of control, such as car accidents caused by others or illnesses to friends or family.

Following the exercise, all participants read short stories in which significant outcomes, such as getting an idea approved at a business meeting, were preceded by unrelated behaviours, such as stomping one's feet three times before entering a meeting.

It was found that participants who had initially written about a situation in which they had no control expressed greater belief in a superstitious connection to the story's outcome, and were more fearful of what would happen if the superstitious behaviour was not properly repeated in the future.

The researchers say while foot stomping or lucky socks are quirky and usually harmless, the participants in the experiment whose feelings of control had been diminished were more likely to perceive more sinister conspiracies lurking beneath the surface of innocuous situations.

For example, when reading about an employee who was passed over for a promotion, the powerless participants tended to believe that private conversations between co-workers and the boss were to blame.

In order to test whether individuals with diminished power can restore control and realign their perceptions, the researchers asked participants to rate how strongly they believed in certain values such as aesthetic beauty or valuing scientific theory and research.

They then asked participants to write about situations in which they were helpless or lacked control and to restore feelings of control afterwards, some participants were asked to elaborate on the values they had rated as important - as a comparison, other participants were asked to elaborate on the value they held in lowest esteem.

The researchers say the results were clear: participants who did not have an opportunity to regain feelings of control were more likely to perceive visual images that didn't exist and to perceive conspiracies in innocent situations, while participants who regained feelings of control by focusing on important personal values were no different from people who never lost their feelings of self-control in the first place.

The research is published in the journal Science.

So. A little checking on professor Whitson, finds that her area of expertise is "management" at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin. Since the phrase "conspiracy theory" is used quite often in the study, I became interested in the conclusions of the study as it relates to the greatest so called "conspiracy theory", the events around September 11, 2001
I began to wonder how good detective or police work figures into the types of "loss of control" responses, examined in the study. It would have been interesting if the same parameters of the Whitson study were applied to cops. The difference here is that police work must produce evidence that can hold up in court. Hard, reliable data. Recently, Brian L. Rooney was convicted of killing 21 year old University of Vermont student Michelle Gardner-Quinn. Good police work found a street surveillance tape of the victim with the accused killer on the night of her disappearance.That discovery led to the crime's unraveling and the life sentence without parole for Mr. Rooney. Can it be said that the police were "conspiracy theorists" as they applied both critical thinking skills, hunches and evidence gathering in solving this crime? Hardly.
The events around 9/11 were a crime of tremendous complexity and tragedy, yet in many respects, the methods of good police work were not followed in putting together an accurate picture of what really happened that day. Most of the steel in the collapses of all three World Trade buildings was hurriedly carted off to Asia without being thoroughly examined as crime scene evidence, which it was. Surveillance imagery played a vital role in the conviction of Mr. Rooney for his violent crime, yet, to this day, the FBI has locked away the 80 or so surveillance tapes that showed "what" hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Why? Why weren't these tapes, 80 of them, entered into the findings of the official 911 Commission Report?
Neither can the exhaustive 911 Oral Histories audio reports be found in the 911 Commission Report. Why? Bin Laden was never officially charged with the crime of perpetrating the 9/11 attacks by the FBI. Why?
A few people happening to see things in Rorschach-like images, shouldn't be confused with the art of unraveling complex crimes, nor should police work be viewed as being just a bunch of "conspiracy theories".


because every piece of legitimate evidence confirms it.

There needs to be a study of who and how people believe "official" propaganda.

Peer-reviewed technical papers are now published in three

established journals. In scholarly work, one is expected to cite relevant formal publications, such as these.

Did Prof. Galinsky do so? No, she did not, and she should be challenged on why she neglected to cite the peer-reviewed literature...

Journal of Engineering Mechanics (Gourley)
Environmentalist (Ryan et al)
The Open Civil Engineering Journal (Jones et al.)

consider the source


This comes from people who use psychology to manipulate the masses. Unscrupulous? Agenda?

What a lame-assed vehicle for propaganda.

You are implying a blanket claim that all conspiracy theories are false. The official 911 explanation, the one about the 19 Arabs with box cutters hijacking the planes and a guy in a cave masterminding the operation, is, by definition, a conspiracy theory. That's right, the official story is a conspiracy theory. Let that sink in.

Hey Galinski, have you seen the WTC7 video? How about you Whitson? Have you seen the Barry Jennings interview?

Have either of you seen Larry Silverstein on the PBS documentary about 911?

Have you seen Professor Jones' work? Do you know about the pools of molten metal? The iron micro-spheres? Thermite?

Have you seen the presentations of David Ray Griffin, Richard Gage, Peter Dale Scott?

Are you familiar with the Gulf Of Tonkin incident?

Are you familiar with Operation Northwoods?

Was there a conspiracy discovered in Iran/Contra/cocaine/arms?

You have zero credibility on this subject.

What would Edward Bernays have had to say about your findings? You are working straight from his playbook.

Conspiracy Theories exist for a reason...

Not only are we misled, we are taught not to bother to look too deeply. Once the official story has been unleashed to support the staus quo, then when we doth protest, we are told that it is "old news --don't concern yourself with that any more! Move along, now." Or worse, we are accused of paranoia. So now they are redefining Conspiracy Theories as what? Perhaps as a "Control-Impotency Disorder"? Surely there will be a new drug on the market for it any day now! Big Pharma is quick that way...

People are waking up and trusting their own gut! A little "paranoia", a bit of "skepticism", or a tendency to relate to "Conspiracy Theories" is HEALTHY! It's a good thing, born of an innate sense of self-preservation. When something SEEMS amiss, it often IS. So sniff it out and spew it wide and far!

OUT the subterfuge!

good work, John!