The internet is loaded with various claims surrounding alien encounters, UFO sightings, Project Blue Beam, and the Illuminati. Even though these conspiracy theories seem bizarre and outlandish, there is a section of people who strongly believes in these absurd claims.
A new study conducted by a team of researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) tried to study the mindset of these conspiracy theorists who spread shocking claims about the unknown.
Are conspiracy theorists crackpots?
During the study, researchers analyzed more than two billion Reddit comments to build a profile of conspiracy theorists. The research led by Dr Kelin found that conspiracy theorists who discuss aliens are not crackpots as many believe but they are just ordinary people.
"In the past before the rise of online forums like Reddit, we tended to only hear about the most extreme views, and those people tended to naturally be wary about talking to someone else about their beliefs. These massive online forums paint a very different picture," said Kelin who is the lead author of the study in a recent statement.
When they examined the enormous set of comments showing what these people are, they realized that many of these conspiracy theorists actually have more 'sensible' interests. "That's not so crazy. These people might believe false things, but with good reason – because similar things have happened in the past," said Kelin.
Conspiracy theorists use a different language
The research report suggested that conspiracy theorists often use a different language when compared to other online platform users, but this change in language seems so subtle that they will stand out from the vast crowd of Reddit users.
"You might find they talk more about power or power structures, but their language is not that different from what ordinarily goes on in a forum like r/politics. You can't distinguish them that. It's very easy to look at conspiracy theories and think they're super wacky, and the people who believe in them are crazy, but it's actually much more continuous with a lot of things we do every day," added Kelin.
The study report, published in the PLOS, suggested that conspiracy theorists often succeed to find like-minded people so that they can actively share mysterious theories about various incidents that happen in the world.