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Why do people share conspiracy theories and fake news? Maybe it’s the human “need for chaos”

Accepted submission by aristarchus at 2018-09-09 22:40:19 from the That's-what-they-WANT-you-to-think dept.

In the Salon []

There seems to be a lot of science being thrown at the "Trump Phenomenon." Salon covers yet another, and interviews the author.

A new paper, recently presented at the American Political Science Association’s annual convention, suggests a widespread motive driving people to share fake news, conspiracy theories and other hostile political rumors. "Many status-obsessed, yet marginalized individuals experience a 'Need for Chaos' and want to 'watch the world burn'," lead author Michael Petersen tweeted, announcing the availability of a preprint copy.

Truth, in such a worldview, is beside the point, which offers a new perspective on the limitations of fact-checking. The motivation behind sharing or spreading narratives one may not even believe can help make sense of a variety of threatening or confusing recent developments in advanced democracies. It also sheds light on disturbing similarities with outbreaks of ethnic or genocidal violence, such as those seen in Rwanda and the Balkan nations during the 1990s.

Preprint of the paper available at PsyArXiv, here. []

Original Submission