Psychological Projection

One reason a person can believe in conspiracy theories is the psychological projection. They attempt to deny their negative attitudes by assuming that instead, others have them, even though it is not necessarily the case.

Some people believe others are in a conspiracy against them because of their moral problem: if they were in the same positions of the people they are accusing, they would do the same thing they are accusing others of doing.

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Dunning–Kruger Effect

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which incompetent people overestimate their ability and consider themselves much more competent than actually is. Essentially, not only they are incompetent, but they also fail to recognize their incompetence.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is very prevalent in flat Earth communities. Many of them are without basic scientific knowledge, yet consider themselves superior to scientists that have spent a significant part of their lives doing scientific research.

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Appeal to Ridicule

Appeal to ridicule is a fallacy that presents opponents’ arguments as absurd, ridiculous, or humorous, making the opponent and their arguments the object of a joke.

Flat Earth lacks a scientific basis, and flat-Earthers have no choice and will usually end up committing the appeal to ridicule at some point. On the other hand, real scientific arguments are done without ridiculing arguments from others.

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Jumping to Conclusions

Jumping to conclusions (also called the JTC bias or inference-observation confusion) is a psychological term referring to the failure to distinguish between observation and inference. In other words, “when I fail to distinguish between what I observed first hand from what I have only inferred or assumed.”

Many flat Earth “facts” are simply the results of jumping to conclusions. They judged something without having all the facts, to reach unwarranted conclusions.

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Priming: How Flat-Earthers Lead Their Victims to Believe Things That are not There

Priming is a manner in which exposure to early information influences the behavior of an individual later on, without them being aware of it. Flat Earth personalities employ this technique to instill specific biases and opinions in the mind of their targets, and for example, to lead them to believe all footage taken in space were faked.

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Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs.

Cognitive dissonance often happens with devoted flat-Earthers when they are confronted with facts and evidence showing that the Earth is spherical. Continue reading “Cognitive Dissonance”

Confirmation Bias

Humans have cognitive biases that can affect our judgments. One of these cognitive biases is the confirmation bias. Because of the confirmation bias, we tend to seek the information confirming our preexisting beliefs.

Confirmation bias is a fact of life, and all humans have it. Confirmation bias can result in different subjective opinion from a different subject. A characteristic of any pseudoscience —like the concept of flat-Earth— is that they don’t try to minimize the confirmation bias, but they actually encourage it.

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