There’s a conspiracy in the air… – Live Journal

According to some, the Earth would be flat, the Covid vaccine a military operation and Michelle Obama transgender. Insights from conspiracy theories that linguists at the University of Neuchâtel want to decipher in a large-scale study combining linguistics and psychology.

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Last October, the American Alex Jones was sentenced to pay close to one billion dollars in compensation to the relatives of the victims. Sandy Hook school shooting In Connecticut (2012), for claiming that the tragedy was onlystaged Organized by those against gun ownership in the United States. These people were later harassed and threatened made the audience believe the words By Alex Jones. Infowars, the platform of the great conspirator he goes so far as to claim that child slaves are being held by NASA on Mars. visited by millions of people ; This is one of the sources that provided the research carried out by researchers from the universities of Neuchâtel and Warwick (UK).do a language comparison Between classic texts and conspiracies about events that caused controversy such as the Covid pandemic, the 9/11 attacks or even the Kennedy assassination. No less than 96,000 items Thus, for the needs of the most ambitious study ever conducted on the topic, it was collected from websites and earned its authors publication in a reference journal. Advances in science last October.

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Interaction between themes in conspiratorial and non-conspiratorial texts

“We created and analyzed A corpus of 72,000 articles reflecting a commonly accepted vision and About 24,000 articles were identified as conspiraciestotalabout 96,000 textsThis is according to Alessandro Miani, the subject of his thesis at the Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology (IPTO) in Neuchâtel. huge collection and analysis work carried out with the help of computational linguistics techniques . Covid-19, Diana, Bill Gates, vaccination, global warming, 5G… based on a series of keywords indicates that the corpus is created. “During the analysis, we see that these words are the cause more interactions in conspiracy texts, even if the subjects have nothing to do with each other,” explains Adrian Bangerter, professor of occupational psychology at IPTO. So the vaccine against Covid would come from a vast conspiracy created by Bill Gates, who wants to dominate the world thanks to the installation of 5G antennas…

Summarized so quickly, the theme seems like a caricature, but conspiracy really defines the texts. impossible connections around different words or topics. The following graph shows clearly multiplicity of words and density of links in conspiratorial texts compared to classical texts. How are such combinations possible?

It’s right there psychology intervenes to interpret the facts emphasized by linguistic methods. “Most people who read such texts will find them meaningless. The person who writes them sees the events as connected, as do the readers who have the same logic. “The reason conspirators find unity in these texts is their worldview,” explains Adrian Bangerter. Fueled by false arguments, these writings are sometimes so complex as to be difficult to decipher, indeed evidence of inconsistencyitself reveals the inconsistency of conspiracy thinking.

Experts for more rigor in reflection the difference between the terms of associationreferring to the text, and consistency , talks about people and their ideas. These are two complementary conceptsfollows clearly defined paths by psychology and linguistics. Thus, well-structured and related texts, such as links, are used in school therefore, therefore…, facilitate students’ learning and help them form coherent representations of the world and events. Word choice is rarely harmless, especially when it comes to credibility; psychology shows that texts can be too reveals the state of mind of the person who wrote them without his knowledge and not only to realize the relevance of his thought.

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Algorithms know how to split the lexicon uses and analyzes the meaning of words used to define the character traits of a person. According to experts, it can even be found in words symptoms of mental disordertheir author, even read the warning signs of a pathology such as dementia.

Methods and techniques used in research between linguistics and psychology can help identify conspiracy theoriesor even fake news. They represent a way of approaching them other than belief, which is the most generalized and involves asking people for their opinions. “There were conspiracy theories social events . They buy an alarming scaleit affected politics for ten years, undermining confidence in democratic procedures such as elections. Addressing this question using scientific approaches becomes a real challenge,” concludes Adrian Bangerter.

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