Scientists have found that certain psychological predispositions can make people more or less prone to believe conspiracy theories. Now, new research has found another trait that could be linked to conspiracy theories.
The study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, suggests that conspiracy theories are associated with the desire to eliminate uncertainties. The study from researchers in Poland and the United Kingdom examined the role of cognitive closure, meaning the tendency to desire an answer for any particular question.
“Why do some people believe that the AIDS virus was created by the US government, that the British security services murdered Princess Diana or that Russians were involved in the Smolensk catastrophe of 2010 that killed the Polish president?” said Marta Marchlewska of the University of Warsaw, the study’s corresponding author. “There is no doubt that conspiracy theories give simple and structured answers to difficult questions. The aim of our research was to find out which psychological traits make people especially prone to adopt conspiratorial explanations and under what circumstances does it occur.”
“We found out that people who are especially motivated to reduce uncertainty by finding clear beliefs about reality and forming quick judgments on a given topic (those high in need for cognitive closure) adopt salient conspiratorial explanations for uncertain events that lack clear official explanations.”
Marchlewska and her colleagues conducted two separate experiments on a total of 700 Polish adults.
Who or what will the conspiracists blame NOW for our weather and contrail patterns? 🙂
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) — a subject of fascination for many hams and the target of conspiracy theorists and anti-government activists — has closed down. HAARP’s program manager, Dr James Keeney at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, told ARRL that the sprawling 35-acre ionospheric research facility in remote Gakona, Alaska, has been shuttered since early May.
“Currently the site is abandoned,” he said. “It comes down to money. We don’t have any.” Keeney said no one is on site, access roads are blocked, buildings are chained and the power turned off. HAARP’s website through the University of Alaska no longer is available; Keeney said the program can’t afford to pay for the service. “Everything is in secure mode,” he said, adding that it will stay that way at least for another 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime a new prime contractor will be coming on board to run the government owned-contractor operated (GOCO) facility.
HAARP put the world on notice two years ago that it would be shutting down and did not submit a budget request for FY 15, Keeney said, “but no one paid any attention.” Now, he says, they’re complaining. “People came unglued,” Keeney said, noting that he’s already had inquiries from Congress. Universities that depended upon HAARP research grants also are upset, he said.
The only bright spot on HAARP’s horizon right now is that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is expected on site as a client to finish up some research this fall and winter. DARPA has nearly $8.8 million in its FY 14 budget plan to research “physical aspects of natural phenomena such as magnetospheric sub-storms, fire, lightning and geo-physical phenomena.”
The proximate cause of HAARP’s early May shutdown was less fiscal than environmental, Keeney said. As he explained it, the diesel generators on site no longer pass Clean Air Act muster. Repairing them to meet EPA standards will run $800,000. Beyond that, he said, it costs $300,000 a month just to keep the facility open and $500,000 to run it at full capacity for 10 days.
Jointly funded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Naval Research Laboratory, HAARP is an ionospheric research facility. Its best-known apparatus is its 3.6 MW HF (approximately 3 to 10 MHz) ionospheric research instrument (IRI), feeding an extensive system of 180 antenna elements and used to “excite” sections of the ionosphere. Other onsite equipment is used to evaluate the effects.
Consumers see a lot of value in organic foods and new research has found that those shoppers are willing to pay a great deal more for that value.
Overall, researchers found that people were willing to pay up to 23.4 percent more for organic foods than they were for the same products not labeled organic. Consumers are willing to pay more for organic foods because of the so-called “health-halo effect,” researchers say.
That effect, where consumers overvalue the benefits of organic foods, was shown in research by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab researchers Wan-chen Jenny Lee, Mitsuru Shimizu, Kevin Kniffin and Brian Wansink. In that research, 115 people were recruited from a shopping mall in Ithaca, N.Y.
Each of those shoppers was then asked to evaluate three pairs of products. The catch was that one of those products was labeled organic while the other was not. However, both pairs of yogurt, cookies and potato chips used in the study were identical. Consumers were not able to make the distinction between the products and rated organically labeled food lower in fat, more nutritious, more appetizing and more flavorful. The only difference came when consumers rated cookies not labeled organic as tasting better.
Those attitudes go a long way in explaining why consumers are willing to pay more for organic products than others, researchers say.
MORE . . . .
CAUTION: ADULT LANGUAGE!
- “Health Halo Effect” Of Organic Labels (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Organic labels bias consumers perceptions through the ‘health halo effect’ (eurekalert.org)
- Organic Labels Bias Consumers Perceptions through the “Health halo effect” (seeddaily.com)
ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2012) — Wouldn’t it be amazing if our bodies prepared us for future events that could be very important to us, even if there’s no clue about what those events will be?
Presentiment without any external clues may, in fact, exist, according to new Northwestern University research that analyzes the results of 26 studies published between 1978 and 2010.
Researchers already know that our subconscious minds sometimes know more than our conscious minds. Physiological measures of subconscious arousal, for instance, tend to show up before conscious awareness that a deck of cards is stacked against us.
“What hasn’t been clear is whether humans have the ability to predict future important events even without any clues as to what might happen,” said Julia Mossbridge, lead author of the study and research associate in the Visual Perception, Cognition and Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern.
A person playing a video game at work while wearing headphones, for example, can’t hear when his or her boss is coming around the corner.
“But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand and close your video game,” Mossbridge said. “You might even have a chance to open that spreadsheet you were supposed to be working on. And if you were lucky, you could do all this before your boss entered the room.”
This phenomenon is sometimes called “presentiment,” as in “sensing the future,” but Mossbridge said she and other researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future.
MORE . . .
- Body’s ‘pre-feelings’ may detect the future (futurity.org)
- New Research Suggests Humans Can Sense Future Events Without Any Known Clues (myscienceacademy.org)
- Can your body sense future events without any external clue? (scienceblog.com)
- Can Your Body ‘Sense’ the Future? (nlm.nih.gov)
- Can Your Body “Sense” the Future? Northwestern University Study (biospace.com)
Megan Gannon via LiveScience
New research suggests we may be able to sniff out psychopaths by their poor scores on a smell test.
In the study, psychologists at Macquarie University in Australia tested the noses of more than 70 college-age participants, all without criminal records. The researchers had the subjects try to identify common odors (like orange, coffee and leather) and distinguish between different scents.
The participants then were given personality tests to check for their level of empathy and psychopathic tendencies. For example, the subjects were asked to rate on a 5-point scale how much they agreed with statements such as: “I purposely flatter people to get them on my side;” “People sometimes say that I’m cold-hearted;” and “I have broken into a building or vehicle in order to steal something or vandalize.”
The researchers reported a correlation between a poorer sense of smell and psychopathic personality traits.
They say this makes sense because previous research has shown that people with such traits have decreased function in the brain’s frontal lobes, a region associated with impulse control and acting in accordance with social norms — and dysfunction in that part of the brain is associated with an impaired sense of smell.
- Psychopaths Have Poor Sense of Smell, Study Finds (livescience.com)
- Do You Have a Poor Sense of Smell? Congrats, You Are a Psychopath. [Psychopaths] (gawker.com)
- Psychopaths have poor sense of smell, study finds (cbsnews.com)
- Mental Health News: Psychopaths have terrible senses of smell (medicalstaffingnetwork.wordpress.com)
- Psychopaths have poor sense of smell: researchers (smh.com.au)
- ‘Psychopaths’ have an impaired sense of smell, study suggests (sciencedaily.com)
- Psychopaths have terrible senses of smell (wnd.com)
It is often said that people who talk to themselves must be crazy. This is not necessarily true as a new study has shown. Charles Choi has reported for Live Science “Talk to Yourself? Why You’re Not Crazy.” Researchers have found that talking to yourself might not mean you are crazy and that this can actually benefit thinking and perception.
Scientists have said that people often talk to themselves, with most doing so at least every few days. Many people even report talking to themselves on an hourly basis. Although the action of talking to oneself may appear to be irrational muttering, previous research has shown that self-directed speech can help guide children’s behavior. Kids often talk to themselves to help guide themselves step-by-step through tasks such as tying their shoelaces, with the self talking apparently reminding themselves to focus on the job at hand.
- Changing Your Negative Self Talk Into Positive Self Talk (deanrblack.com)
- What we say to ourselves and our marriage (mapenzinandoa.wordpress.com)
- The Power of Positive Self Talk (managedifficultpeople.com)
- Talk Talk (thedistinctdot.com)
- Mayo Clinic: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk (guardianlv.com)
Your brain may be more likely to recognize new things as new when the unknown is already on your mind, according to new research.
The findings suggest that memories are not made or recalled in a vacuum, said study researcher Lila Davachi, a psychologist at New York University. Instead, memories are built with the influence of what your brain has just been exposed to, she said.
“Your previous state of mind can influence the way you see the world and what sort of decisions you make,” Davachi told LiveScience.
In fact, the research suggests that the hippocampus, the part of the brain that encodes memories, may have two jobs that it can’t perform at the same time: building new memories and recognizing old ones. The time it takes to switch between these two tasks may explain why the brain is better at recognizing new things when it’s already in “new thing” mode.
Keep Reading: Brain Is Biased When Learning New Information | LiveScience.
- How does the Brain Distinguish Between Old and New? It is Biased. (techie-buzz.com)
- Researchers Reveal That One Act Of Remembering Can Influence Future Acts (medicalnewstoday.com)
- 1 act of remembering can influence future acts, NYU researchers find (eurekalert.org)