Debunked: Infowars Study: Conspiracy theorists’ sane; government dupes crazy, hostile

AluminumTheory

Senior Member
Update Summary: Conspiracy Theorists siezed upon the publication of the paper "What about building 7?" A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories", and claimed it showed that 9/11 conspiracy theorists were more "sane" than other people. However it does not say that at all, and the author of the study added a note on PubMed to clarify what the study actually means.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23847577
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Original Post Follows


http://www.infowars.com/study-conspiracy-theorists-sane-government-dupes-crazy-hostile/


In a nutshell this guy makes the argument that conspiracy theorists are the rational ones because conspiracy theorists are more prominent and vocal on the internet than the non-believers. This of course is assuming that the demographics of what is on the internet is an accurate reflection of real life demographics.

The internet is a hub for anything and everything that is anti-establishment and non-mainstream. A really good example would be that atheists only make up a tiny minority of people, and yet the internet might have you believe that almost everyone is an atheist. Ron Paul was enormously popular on the internet, and yet he didn't even come close to the winning the amount of delegates needed to win the G.O.P. primaries. Even if he had won, I highly doubt that you'll get a majority of voters to vote for a guy who plans to dismantle the Dept of Education. Anarchism, Libertarianism, Socialism, Scientology, Cryptozoology, Dubstep, The Paranormal, and yes Conspiracy Theorists all have large followings on the internet.

I also like the claim that the 9/11 truthers are less hostile than their duped counterparts. Not to say that non believers can't be hostile, but I seriously doubt that they are more hostile than the truthers. Comments on the internet are generally nasty anyway. I'm sure there are a million people leaving nasty comments on various articles and videos right now.
That being said, the conspiracy theorist are generally quite a rowdy bunch and I think that alot of this resonates from a certain radio host.



....And then there is this nice little tidbit of projection :).
In the same issue of ABS, University of Buffalo professor Steven Hoffman adds that anti-conspiracy people are typically prey to strong “confirmation bias” – that is, they seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, while using irrational mechanisms (such as the “conspiracy theory” label) to avoid conflicting information.
 
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Yeah. I saw this 'study' last night sort of making the rounds.
Not sure how they were able to gather that from looking at a few quotes on the internet.
Anyway. I love this one that a supporter put up in regards to the study.

 

Leifer

Senior Member
http://www.frontiersin.org/Personal..._Differences/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00409/full#h4
 
The actual paper is here http://www.frontiersin.org/personal...differences/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00409/abstract

They have grossly misinterpreted the paper.
Having just read the study - yeah - that is probably an understatement.
And Dr. Barrett appears to have a history of this sort of thing.

From wikipedia
 
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Pete Tar

Senior Member
Who's Dr Barrett? One of those involved in the study, or the one who 'interpreted' it 1984 style?
 
Who's Dr Barrett? One of those involved in the study, or the one who 'interpreted' it 1984 style?
The original link doesn't have the author of the article on the study but I have seen it on other sites.
So yeah. Barrett's the one that cherry picked this and that from the study and sent it through the spin cycle.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think the key point here is that it is not a study representative of the general population, or even the general conspiracy or skeptic populations, but rather a study of those people who tend to leave comments on news stories about subjects that have conspiracies attached to them.

If you ever read those comments, they are not fine examples of humanity. It's a specific subset, generally a nasty and closed-minded one.
 

M Bornong

Senior Member
Kind of like the CT'rs we deal with, whose only response is name calling, profanity,and/ or blocking, no evidence. Ignorance can be a form of {Max:)) bliss .
 

solrey

Senior Member
When it comes to hostility, turns out that CT'rs are also hostile in their own way, as we are well aware. Not saying I haven't slung some mud myself...

They also identified the reason there are more comments by conspiracists. Even though they're a small minority of the overall population, they're a vocal minority on a mission.

Perhaps the result of the hostility factor would have been different if they had included in their criteria the kind of hit and run derogatory comments I often see more from conspiracists than debunkers. Then there is the highly emotionally charged subject matter of 9/11. It would be interesting to see what the result would be in analyzing comments on mainstream articles about various weather events.

 

Cairenn

Senior Member
The average person, after being called an 'sheeple' and 'shill' and even worse may well start to get defensive and testy. It is hard to be polite when over and over and over you are insulted and asked the same question that you have answered before.

On one Grist site, discussing GMOs, I know I posted the link to the over 600 studies at least a dozen times. I was call names there and even got some near threats (of the type 'I'd love to pour a bottle of Roundup down your throat" and the like).

I have called a 'shill' for BP, Nalco, 'big pharm', Monsanto and the 'Jewish press', and a BP lawyer, someone working for BP in a social media company and many others. I have had fake FB pages created with name and avatar, I have insulting videos posted on you tube and other video servers. Now why wouldn't that make someone defensive?

I fail at times here.
 

Leifer

Senior Member
Frontiersin.org (where the study was published) is a fee-based for submission (open access publication), .....in science-related areas. Must pass a "review board" for acceptance.
There are some interesting topics, though they need-not be a "research study". They can be short articles, or abstracts to other studies, commentary, reviews, e-books, events....you name it.
There are "no-fee" categories too.
Seems they are pushing the social network theme.

I'm not typing this to knock the validity of the study or the expertise of it's authors.....that is separate, but the possibility to claim "publication".....always has it's tiers of respectability, and reputation.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Funny coincidence - at the time you quoted that, I was in a room with three of those four authors.
 

Leifer

Senior Member
Mick, will you give us a report of your weekend when you return ?

(an extra-credit report...will not affect your final grade .)
 

David Fraser

Senior Member
Frontiersin.org (where the study was published) is a fee-based for submission (open access publication), .....in science-related areas. Must pass a "review board" for acceptance.
There are some interesting topics, though they need-not be a "research study". They can be short articles, or abstracts to other studies, commentary, reviews, e-books, events....you name it.
There are "no-fee" categories too.
Seems they are pushing the social network theme.

I'm not typing this to knock the validity of the study or the expertise of it's authors.....that is separate, but the possibility to claim "publication".....always has it's tiers of respectability, and reputation.
There still does seem to be some academic rigour in selection for the articles, especially given there are very few open source journals out there.

http://www.frontiersin.org/Psychology/about
 

JRBids

Senior Member
Perhaps the result of the hostility factor would have been different if they had included in their criteria the kind of hit and run derogatory comments I often see more from conspiracists than debunkers. Then there is the highly emotionally charged subject matter of 9/11. It would be interesting to see what the result would be in analyzing comments on mainstream articles about various weather events.
The other thing that conspiracy theorists do that debunkers do not is totally shut out the voice. This tactic is most used by chemtrail believers. They seem to be the biggest fans of the echo chamber. No dissenting voices allowed. 9/11 CTers enjoy the back and forth argument, in my experience.
 

Melbury's Brick

Active Member
"Infowars study" sounds like an oxymoron to me.

In other words, among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority.
No it doesn't. It means that if you a believe a conspiracy theory, you will seek a platform to air your views. if you don't....you won't.

If you took a survey of people coming out of the Stretford End of the Old Trafford stadium after a football match. The results would show that 100% of the world's population are Manchester United supporters.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member
I wonder is it possible to contact the authors and have their comments on how their study is being presented?
They either think the representation is accurate or not, and could publish a follow up statement to that effect.
 

Noblelox

Member
I wonder is it possible to contact the authors and have their comments on how their study is being presented?
They either think the representation is accurate or not, and could publish a follow up statement to that effect.
He already has made several replies on his blog (below). Barrat has taken Dr Wood's research way out of context. I've read the papper and it makes perfect sense. When he and his collegue Dr Douglas talk about conventionalists (us) being more agressive it's refering to a defind parameter of replies. Not all of them.
http://conspiracypsych.com/2013/07/13/setting-the-record-straight-on-wood-douglas-2013/
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
Ohhh, Infowars. I am waiting for your stopped clock to be correct. Then again I would need another clock to know you are right. So I guess I won't check you.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Another explanation from the first author. I've added this to the OP.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23847577
 
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