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Conspiracy Theories Thrive Despite Information Age

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A man wear a shirt with the words Q Anon as he attends a rally for President Donald Trump at the Make America Great Again Rally being held in the Florida State Fair Grounds Expo Hall on July 31, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. Some people attending either wore shirts with a Q or held signs with a Q and are reported to be part of a conspiracy theory group. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It may be the last bipartisan consensus. Voters on both ends of the political spectrum embrace conspiracy theories — whether it’s the belief that 9/11 was secretly carried out by the George W. Bush administration or that President Barack Obama was born outside of the United States. Experts find that conspiracy theories often reinforce a pre-existing viewpoint, and that confronting believers with verifiable facts can actually entrench their belief further. Forum considers the allure of conspiracy theories, and the science of changing minds.

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Eric Oliver, professor of political science, University of Chicago; author, "Enchanted America"

Joseph Uscinski, associate professor of political science; University of Miami; co-author, "American Conspiracy Theories"

Joe Vitriol, college fellow in the psychology department, Harvard University


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