Conspiracy theories are all around us, and some people often wonder why we come up with them. Jan-Williem van Prooijen is an associate professor in Amsterdam, and he seems to have a pretty good explanation.
Most conspiracy theories, like those claiming that the Earth is flat, stem from a common denominator where people want to explain things in both new and exciting ways. In some cases, conspiracy theories can establish an entirely different viewpoint about a situation and invoke a thrill among the audience, but this isn't always a good thing.
As Prooijen points out, beliefs impact human behavior and perpetuating incorrect information comes with consequences. For example, the one about how vaccines can cause autism led many parents to refuse vaccines for their children. Consequently, illnesses break out more frequently in some areas more than others.
Conspiracy theories can be a fun area of study, whether you believe in them or not. Nevertheless, we should always remember how to separate fact from fiction and to consider the scientific evidence before drawing conclusions.