How the desire to be seen as unique drives believers of conspiracy theories

Unrelenting faith in the face of insurmountable contradictory evidence is a trait of believers in conspiracy theories that has long confounded researchers. For instance, past research has demonstrated how attempting to use evidence to sway believers of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories can backfire, increasing their certainty in the conspiracy. Could it also be the case that knowing that most people doubt a conspiracy actually makes believing in it more appealing, by fostering in the believer a sense of being somehow special?

Read the rest of this article at: BPS Research Digest

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1 What explains the global decline in voting?

In a year of pivotal elections across Europe — in the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom and Germany — voters are being urged to turn up to the ballot box. Yet long-term data suggest that political apathy has risen steadily in Europe’s citizens, says Simon Hix, a political scientist at the London School of Economics…

Read the rest of this article at: Nature Image Credit: Simon Hix

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14866196912 f418cbed27 z Why are smarter kids more likely to take drugs?

Academically successful children are more likely to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis in their teenage years than their less academic peers. That’s according to a study of over 6000 young people in England published recently in BMJ Open by researchers at UCL. While the results may sound surprising, they shouldn’t be. The finding is in fact consistent with earlier research that showed a relationship between higher childhood IQ and the use in adolescence of a wide range of illegal drugs.

Read the rest of this article at: BPS Research Digest Image Credit: Van Grimm Photography

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4536619509 0a576921df z How the changing of the clocks affects your brainAre you feeling tired today? Much of the UK got up an hour earlier than usual this morning, following the start of daylight savings. But there’s evidence that the clocks changing can have much more serious effects too, including heart attacks and strokes…

Read the rest of this article at New Scientist – the home of Brain Scanner, my monthly column.  Image: Leticia Chamorro

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6281020696 ce367894db z How being overpaid could destroy your passion for doing what you loveExecutive pay has risen astronomically over recent years: America’s top CEOs currently earn ten times what they did 30 years ago, according to a 2015 brief by the Economic Policy Institute, and around 300 times more than the average worker. And if that fact on its own isn’t enough to make you feel frustrated, consider this one: The people who take home the biggest paychecks aren’t necessarily the best at what they do….

Read the rest of this article at NY Mag

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