The more you see the world this way—full of malice and planning instead of circumstance and coincidence—the more likely you are to accept conspiracy theories of all kinds. Once you buy into the first theory, with its premises of coordination, efficacy, and secrecy, the next seems that much more plausible.
Conspiracy believers are the ultimate motivated skeptics. Their curse is that they apply this selective scrutiny not to the left or right, but to the mainstream. They tell themselves that they’re the ones who see the lies, and the rest of us are sheep.
This would seem to apply to True Believers, also. True Believers tend to think they are the only ones who can see the TRUTH, and the rest of us are just ignorant sheep.
The September 2013 issue of PSY-PAG (Psycology Post-Graduate Affairs Group) Quarterly is a special issue devoted to "The psychology of conspiracy theories." The 56 page magazine contains these articles about conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists.
"Towards a definition of ‘conspiracy theory’" - Robert Brotherton
"A review of different approaches to study belief in conspiracy theories" - Anthony Lantian
"The psychology of conspiracy theories blog - http://www.conspiracypsychology.com"
"Has the internet been good for conspiracy theorising?" - Michael Wood
"The detrimental nature of conspiracy theories" - Daniel Jolley
The second PSY-PAG article on the above list, "Towards a definition of 'conspiracy theory'" poses an interesting question:
One amusing answer is:
But, the more comprehensive and useful definition is in this statement:
In other words, a "conspiracy theory" is typically implausible, sensationalistic, gives the conspirators super-abilities, is based upon weak evidence, and is so vague that it cannot be easily disproved.
The article also contains this:
Conspiracies have occurred throughout history, and occur in some form every day – in politics, organised crime, insider dealing, scams, and so on. Philosopher Charles Pigden points out that ‘if a conspiracy theory is simply a theory which posits a conspiracy, then every politically and historically literate person is a big-time conspiracy theorist’ (Pigden, 2007, p.222). However, this is not how the label is commonly used. The term usually refers to explanations which are not regarded as verified by legitimate epistemic authorities. The theory may be regarded as indisputably true by those who subscribe to it, but this belief is invariably at odds with the mainstream consensus among scientists, historians, or other legitimate judges of the claim’s veracity.
I couldn't have said it better myself. It certainly fits ALL the conspiracy theories related to the anthrax attacks of 2001 that I've heard during the past 12+ years.
Another article from 2013, this time from Scientific American Magazine, is titled "Insights into the Personalities of Conspiracy Theorists," and it begins with this:
I think those three articles are enough to confirm that I'm not the only one who views "conspiracy theorists" as outside of the norm. Conspiracy theorists tend to think of themselves as part of the majority, but, as I've written many times, they are just a fringe group that the vast majority of the public doesn't take seriously. I don't see anything in these articles that disagrees with what I've been saying about conspiracy theorists for 12+ years.
On the other hand, anarchist Alex Jones indicates he has a study which shows that conspiracy theorists are sane, and government dupes are crazy. I found it by doing a Google search for conspiracy+theorist+majority.