Okay, this is not the kind of issue I usually blog on. BUT. With surveys indicating that about half of the U.S. population believes at least one conspiracy theory, I think this Medscape Psychiatry piece deserves our attention. If we are going to truly understand Health Psychology in order to do our jobs in the healthcare marketing vertical better, we need to explore the outer fringes.
Why is it important to understand that believing in conspiracy theories is not a mental disorder? Consider the widespread “Vaccine Hesitancy,” manifested in large percentages of the American public refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Reasons offered by people of this mindset include “They’re trying to alter my genes” and “They are installing trackers with the vaccine that will let them find me anywhere.” SO. As this article clearly explains, we can either throw up our hands, say “You’re crazy” and walk away, OR we can understand the way such illogical thinking develops and help people to work around it and get vaccinated.
Bottom Line. Ten years ago, we didn’t talk about “conspiracy theories” very much. Sure, there was talk of a conspiracy to kill JFK, and maybe the moon landing was faked. BUT. It was not part of our daily conversation, like it is now thanks to QAnon, etc. The rise of social media is clearly playing an important role here.
My prediction? Conspiracy theories are going to continue to grow in importance in the national psyche. If we are going to successfully communicate with, and market to, people believing in these theories, we need to understand both their rationale AND how to deal with them.