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hijack from Are conspiracy theories our right as citizens of a free country?

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As someone who is pro-education and anti-superstition, I do still think this is a matter of human nature.  This is my personal perspective based on my personal online research.  Both religion and, seemingly, these conspiracy theories like QAnon, disproportionally affect women, and women score higher on theory of mind and score lower on measures of autism.  Theory of mind is correlated with religiosity (+ToM, -IQ).  Theory of mind, measured via facial expressions, is thought to involve the ability to infer hidden motives (and "conspiracies" I suppose).  And my personal speculation:  The correlation of religiosity with ToM seems to be reinforced by the many correlations shared between oxytocin and religiosity, including ToM score, along with being female, monogamy, ethnocentrism, generosity, and (paradoxically if so) gloating behaviors.  Vasopressin is also related to ToM, but it seems understudied compared to oxytocin.  Certain measures of religiosity, like church attendance, are stronger predictors of the more desirable behaviors that are correlated with religiosity.  If something like church attendance, which has indeed steadily declined, is in decline, it is probably a sign of an undesirable change rather than a desirable change.

The above increases the likelihood that religion is some sort of outlet for some part of our nature.  Internet conspiracy theories could be the new and even more problematic outlet for those instincts.  These tech giants are apparently run by geeky libertarian types, who probably wouldn't be concerned by something like a drop in church attendance, not being aware of the sociological implications.  If this is a problem of human instincts run amok, the easiest solution might be natural, not rational, corrections to the environmental factors causing the deviation.  Trying to fight it with rationality might be akin to pushing a boulder up a hill.  Worst case scenario: the necessary changes cannot be implemented without a political realignment.

Stay tuned for even more ramblings on this perspective of mine. Schizotypal personality disorder is significantly elevated among people on the autism spectrum.*  STPD (which is male-biased) was originally a subscale of BPD (which is female-biased) before it became STPD, and STPD hasn't been linked with the same sort of hyper-mentalizing that BPD has.  Although "high-functioning" autism (autism with a certain IQ score) has been linked to agnostic + atheism, STPD has a unique relationship with peculiar beliefs or superstitious beliefs.  The apparent suggestion is that some feature of STPD, like social isolation or socially anxious paranoia, is possibly responsible for the rise in conspiracy theories.  At the non-pathological end, STPD has relationships with the Neuroticism (unsurprisingly), Antagonism, and Introverted dimensions of the Big Five.  I have come across one personality study that reported an unusually high correlation between Agreeableness and Extraversion (Antagonism and Introversion), which surpassed the Agreeableness-Conscientiousness correlation.  Personality is supposed to be stable over time, and not situational, but I don't see why a personality disorder with so many links to psychiatric illness should not violate this assumption of longitudinal stability.  The assumption of BPD's non-treatability has also been challenged in recent times.  If situational factors can exacerbate STPD symptoms, then the affected symptoms might include the peculiar beliefs.  I have also come across reporting, accurate or not, that being african-american increases the likelihood of a PPD diagnosis (paranoid personality disorder).  In my opinion, this should raise questions about how habitual assumptions like the fundamental attribution error can interact with stereotyping or in-group bias to affect the diagnosis of these disorders.  However, environmental factors like urban lead-exposure could also potentially explain the phenomenon, if it is verified and it is the rate of PPD specifically that is elevated.

*(STPD too, but SPD and OCPD were the most elevated among Asperger's patients, in the data I found.)

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5 hours ago, MonDie said:

Stay tuned for even more ramblings on this perspective of mine.


Moderator Note

No, that’s not what the thread is about, so this is a hijack.

Speculations belong in the speculations forum and need to be supported. Opinions are not speculation 

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