The conspiracy theorist stigma: censorship by pseudopsychiatry

Replacing debate with pseudopsychiatry

The risks of being labeled and stigmatized as a conspiracy theorist has rendered a growing number of topics – on which a real and honest public debate is urgently needed – taboo in the public debate.

Debate should be conducted on substance. Shifting an exchange on a subject to someone’s mental state is a personal attack, a fallacy – a spurious argument that proves nothing proves anything, and circumvents debate.

“You’re a conspiracy thinker, gullible and can’t think analytically”. This is an ‘ad hominem’ attack. It even leads to the “diagnosing” entire groups of people based on their interests. This is absolute pseudopsychology.

The flood of articles about the mental state of ‘conspiracy theorists’ does not contribute to debate; on the contrary, they replace debate with pseudopsychology. It is sad that academia lends itself to this.

Spiral of silence

An increasing number of topics thus become completely unmentionable in the public sphere.

Instead of a substantive exchange on important topics such as, for example, 5G, collaboration between the Dutch cabinet and the WEF, expropriation of farmers, destruction of SMEs, vaccine damage, or replacing fishermen with windmills, the conversation shifts to the supposed perceptions and motivations of the “conspiracy thinker,” who is ‘radicalized’ because of his questions and thus poses a ‘danger to society’.

This form of pseudopsychology is fatal to the open exchange that is necessary for a free society to thrive.

The pseudo-psychiatric framing of “conspiracy theorists” is harmful. It fractures in marriages, families, friendships, and society.

Anyone who lends themselves to this pseudo-psychology collaborates in striking deep rifts into society. Real rapprochement and healing can only take place when it is possible for everyone to speak his or her truth. When media allows all views into the public debate. When a truly open exchange takes place about facts, values and norms, without the running the risk of a pseudo-psychiatric diagnosis and ostracism.


“But, as it turns out, one of the simplest and easiest techniques for controlling dissent is simply to pathologize it. As we are beginning to see, simply declaring resistance to the status quo to be a form of mental disorder can be an exceptionally powerful tool for silencing opposition”.

~ James Corbett in ‘Dissent Into Madness: The Weaponization of Psychology


“A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice.”

~ Chris Hedges


My question to trauma expert Meredith Miller: “All that has occurred in the last years has created enormous divisions in society. What does it will it take to heal that division again?”

Meredith: “Healing trauma always begins with a foundation of truth and safety. Healing remains difficult until the truth within society can be openly discussed and widely known”


Mass Psychology

Should we nevertheless wish to look from a psychological point of view look at current societal dynamics, it might be more interesting to question why entire groups of people blindly follow authorities, and others insist on doing their own research and forming their own opinions. Findings from social conformity experiments such as Standford Prison (Zimbardo) and Milgram are particularly informative in this regard. For an extensive discussion, see the articles below:

Covid-19 – Mass Formation or Mass Atrocity?

COVID Measures: Biggest “Social Conformity Event” in History.

Mistakes Were NOT Made: An Anthem for Justice – text by Margaret Anna Alice
Mistakes Were NOT Made: An Anthem for Justice – video, read by dr. Tess Lawrie


The manhunt for the conspiracy theorist in Dutch mass media

A shorter version of this article previously appeared in De Andere Krant.

(Machine translation from Dutch)

After psychiatrist Wim Veling and colleagues at the University of Groningen last year compared ‘conspiracy thinkers’ to people suffering from psychotic delusions, healthcare professionals and the mass media disseminated this pseudo-psychiatric theory en masse. They put the conspiracy thinker away as a psychiatric case that is dangerous, should be watched by the government, monitored and locked up if necessary. Even some members of parliament are placed in this category. Rarely, if ever, are facts addressed that the ‘conspiracy theorist’ puts forward” .

Are conspiracy thinkers psychotic?” asked psychiatrist and professor at the University of Groningen Wim Veling, and two other psychiatrists, three psychologists, two sociologists and a mental health nurse in the November 2021 Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie (national magazine for psychiatry). In response to the article, a concerned physician – who wishes to remain anonymous – contacted me. 

A warning

“The journal of psychiatry sets the tone for mental health care in the Netherlands. It falls on every psychiatrist’s doormat. It is read within the GGZ (mental health services), and it then finds its way into publications that general practitioners read. What people who deal with topics that are considered taboo in the mainstream should realize is that when they discuss topics with their family doctor or psychologist, that according to the authors of the article fall under conspiracies, they are now more or less officially considered psychiatrically disturbed. Even though the diagnostics have not yet crystallized”.

As the doctor predicted, the article received wide attention inside and outside the healthcare industry and has continued to circulate over the past year. “Conspiracy thinkers are not psychotic” summed up the Care Newspaper, which is committed to “digital exchange of knowledge and experience within the Dutch care and welfare sector” on Nov. 22, 2021. However, they write, “Conspiracy thinkers have many similarities to people suffering from paranoid delusions”. The National Care Guide, “one platform where you can find all the relevant news in healthcare,” with more than 34,000 followers on twitter, issued a press release on 19 November 2021 that translated the science for the layman:  “In conversation with conspiracy thinkers? Approach them as someone with schizophrenia”.

Psychiatrist Yolande de Kok responds to Veling’s article in January 2022 in the Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie: “Especially for the group of mainstream conspiracy thinkers described by Veling et al. as ‘rebels with a cause’ (people whose conspiracy thinking makes them want to feel superior to of the ‘ignorant masses’), the question is whether listening and showing empathy and agreement is really such a salutary method, or whether, on the contrary, this approach embracing the conspiracy thoughts even further”.

Wim Veling and colleagues were not the first to label the conspiracy thinker as mentally ill. Physician and microbiologist Miquel Ekkelenkamp wrote on July 29 2021 in Medisch Contact, the weekly journal for doctors: “Among the conspiracy thinkers on this world there may be more violent mental patients than average, but most are well-meaning citizens who want to improve the world. Many would already be greatly helped by a therapeutic dose of methylphenidate.”

Many similar publications follow. On, “a multi-disciplinary eCommunity of experts by experience and those involved and professionals,” the question, “Is it a conspiracy theory or psychosis?” answered. “My brother is firmly convinced that the earth is flat, or maybe differently shaped but definitely not spherical, as we learn in school. Could this possibly fall under psychosis? Or some kind of shared delusion? Do you have any tips on how to deal with this kind of situation?”.

Psychiatrist Esther van Fenema writes on August 10, 2022 in the newspaper Trouw: “A colleague effortlessly links the farmers protest to Soros, Trump, Nazis, Jews, Klaus Schwab and, of course, the WEF. People who suspect sinister plots to manipulate us, make us infertile or exterminate us. […] If you cannot process incoming information properly, then there can be psychosis where a person suffers from delusions and hallucinations and an alternate reality may arise.” And, Fenema writes, “All strata of the population appear vulnerable: from PhD chemists and Gooise mothers to QAnon-types, who had already begun before corona to subscribe to alternative realities, because they no longer trust the existing power structures.

The journal The Psychologist organized a forum on June 3, 2022 titled “Addressing Conspiracy Thinking and Anti-Government Sentiments in Mental Health.” In the context of this forum, Arno van Dam, professor at the University of Tilburg, together with three co-authors, writes in the article ‘Society enters the consulting room’, “In the course of the pandemic, it became apparent that relatively many people believed to some degree in so-called conspiracy theories. Resesearch shows that conspiracy thinkers are relatively more likely to be less educated, single, unemployed and male. They also more often experience physical and psychological complaints and have less self-confidence, a lower socioeconomic status and feel less connection to others. These are characteristics that are also relatively common among people with mental health problems found”. The authors cite the article by Veling et. al. in addition to 24 other publications that link conspiracy thinking, psychiatric complaints and radicalization.

Conferences are being organized around the topic. On November 29, 2022 a Congress on Personality Disorders will take place, open only to certified professionals. The introduction reads: “Conspiracy thinking or hearing voices? Personality disorder or just psychotic? Following the DSM classification system and by the organization of the mental health care, these seem to be separate worlds”. Mr. Dr. Bram Sizoo, who co-authored the article by Veling, will give the following presentation: “Conspiracy thinking and illusions in everyday people: patients with schizophrenia-related psychosis and in personality disorders”.

Many “light-hearted” items also appear in the mass media, such as the piece: “Help, my friend is a conspiracy thinker!”, in HP de Tijd on November 20, 2020. The author, Charlotte Arnoldy, writes: “When you enter into a discussion with a conspiracy thinker, it is wise not to attack individual facts , but rather to talk about why someone considers certain sources to be true and others as untrue. Demonstrating the unreliability of the source of the other in a conversation with a conspiracy thinker is much more powerful than attacking of the presented ‘fact.'”

BNN Vara will have young people speak on April 12, 2021 on “What if your mother is a conspiracy thinker?“. In “Three ingredients by which you can recognize a conspiracy theory’ explains Dr. Jovan Byford, senior lecturer in psychology at The Open University, explains on the KRO-NCRV website: “The term conspiracy theory refers to theories, in which the cause of global events is attributed to a vast ‘diabolical’ plan, secretly has been set up by a small group of influential individuals”.

In the article “This is how to have a (meaningful) conversation with a conspiracy thinker in your environment,” the Volkskrant on October 20, 2020 gives five tips for talking to conspiracy thinkers. “Don’t dismiss the other person as crazy. They feel anxious, insecure or powerless”. On May 12, 2021, the newspaper the Gelderlander also supports readers with handling guidelines in the article “How do you engage in conversation with a conspiracy thinker?”

At BNN Vara, actress Mirjam Vriend and psychiatrist Bram Bakker correspond monthly about mental health care. On November 10, 2020 they discuss “How crazy are conspiracy thinkers really?”. Mirjam: “Why does one person become a conspiracy thinker and not the other? Can anyone who on a rainy day get caught up in the conspiracy algorithm just go down the rabbit hole? disappear? Or is that just one ingredient of the whole recipe?”

In addition to the mass media, the government is also focusing on recognizing and dealing with “conspiracy thinkers. The National Training Institute Against Radicalization (ROR) shares “knowledge, insight and skills about radicalization” with general practitioners, prison guards, neighborhood police officers, teachers, security guards, youth workers, social workers and youth workers. On October 29, 2020 they organize in cooperation with the National Extremism Support Centre (LSE) and the municipality of Delft the webinar Expertise Promotion ‘Conspiracy Thinking’ on “The risks of conspiracy thinking and how to deal with it as a professional”.

On February 22 and 23, 2021, the ROR is organizing the ‘webinar Radicalization and Extremism‘. The webinar was attended by “over 200 professionals from the region of East Brabant”. The NCTV explained its role in combating radicalization and extremism. The webinar also included “the themes of information sharing and signaling and interpreting” were also addressed. In a poll, 68% of participants of the webinar indicated “In my environment (private or at work) I see I see people as a result of the corona crisis becoming radicalized and/or susceptible to conspiracy theories”.

As the webinar makes clear, the government likes to associate the conspiracy theorist with ‘radicalization’. The suggestion is made that he is a danger is a danger to society. Chief Public Prosecutor Michiel Zwinkels tells on June 7, 2021 to NRC Handelsblad that “Violence is made more natural by conspiracy thinking,” because “People lose contact with the outside world.”

In addition to officials, teachers are being trained to deal with conspiracy-thinking students. Platform JEP supports professionals working with young people in their questions around polarization, radicalization and extremism. To these professionals they give instructions on “Conspiracy thinking youth: how to how to deal with them”. The Anne Frank House gives practical tips and organizes trainings on “Dealing with conspiracy thinking in the classroom.” The Hannah Arendt Institute, in cooperation with the Belgian newspaper de Standaard, published a podcast series: “Why do conspiracy theories arise and why are they so alluring? How can you recognize them? And why are they often dangerous?”. According to the Child Protection Council, “the imposition of radical ideas can be harmful to the minor and threaten it in its development”. Therefore, several attention officers for radicalization have been appointed.

The EU is also concerned about conspiracy theorists: The Radicalization Awareness Network held an online meeting as early as September 28, 2020 in which “harmful conspiracy myths” were discussed, because, “these myths are potentially harmful to people themselves, and by extension, to society.”

In collaboration with Twitter, Unesco and the World Jewish Congress, the European Commission on August 14, 2020 launches the campaign “#ThinkBeforeSharing. – Stop the spread of conspiracy theories”. Because, “the pandemic created a breeding ground for hate speech, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitic attacks, and hostility toward LGBTQ communities.

Even House of Representatives members are attacked as alleged conspiracy thinkers. The legal scholar Afshin Ellian this summer told Goedemorgen Nederland on NPO 1 (national television): “People used to be more compliant with cabinet decisions or demonstrations were a lot more peaceful. What you see now is hardening. Conspiracy thinkers. This is all organized by a political party (FvD) and that is very unique”. About FvD MP Gideon van Meijeren he says: “He is a charlatan, a liar and an evil figure. He mobilizes unstable people. This cannot be condoned and I hope that the OM (Public Prosecutor) will study the role of these people in this smear campaign is going to be studied.” Noteworthy: Ellian was awarded in 2015 the Pim Fortuyn Prize for “consistently defending freedom of speech” (Pim Fortuyn was assasinated by an extreme-left fanatic shortly before elections that he probably would have won).

Silencing of dissidents with pseudopsychiatry

That the campaign against people with opinions that differ from government and mass media is effective I recently experienced personally. In a conversation with someone who only absorbes mass media, I was asked if I could “could explain how that great world conspiracy works,” and “do you also believe in blood-drinking reptiles?”. “That’s what conspiracy thinkers believe, don’t they?”

Such a reaction is typical. The psychiatric stigma ‘conspiracy theorist’ is part of a broader pattern of dehumanization. Psychiatrists and publicists never address the actual facts or the ‘conspiracy thinker’, only on his alleged perceptions. They observe the ‘conspiracy thinker’ as if he were an object, or a new species. In this way, so-called conspiracy thinkers are dehumanized – they are no longer equal fellow human beings with different ideas, but psychologically unstable individuals, that are possibly dangerous.

This is a dangerous development. Other European countries are already actively to persecute dissenters. After the Swiss cardiologist Thomas Binder spoke prominently and persistently critical of the coronama measures, he was detained by police and an anti-terrorism unit. There appeared to be no basis for detaining him. Shortly thereafter, an emergency physician was called in to assess his mental health assessment, after which he was forcibly committed to a psychiatric facility hospitalized. After some time, he was released, under the condition that he took psychiatric medications, for which his blood was tested.

German medical advocate Beate Bahner experienced something similar on April 13, 2020 after she filed a lawsuit in which she claimed that the coronama measures were in were unconstitutional. These are practices we still know from the former Soviet Union.

It doesn’t seem to be that far in the Netherlands yet, but we are already seeing the dynamic of silencing dissidents by portraying them as conspiracy thinkers.


Complotdenken en waandenkbeelden bij mensen van alle dag: patiënten met een aan schizofrenie verwante psychose en bij persoonlijkheidsstoornissen  Mr.dr. Bram Sizoo

Complotdenken of stemmen horen? Persoonlijkheidsstoornis of toch psychotisch? Psychotische stoornis of toch meer de persoonlijkheid? In navolging van het DSM-classificatiesysteem en door de organisatie van de GGz lijken dit gescheiden werelden. Maar veel mensen met een persoonlijkheidsstoornis ervaren aan psychose gerelateerde symptomen. En bij menig patiënt met ernstig psychotische klachten wordt naast een schizofrene spectrum stoornis vaak ook persoonlijkheidsproblematiek geconstateerd.


Forum: Aandacht voor complotdenken en anti-overheidssentimenten in de GGZ De maatschappij komt de spreekkamer binnen

Een kwadratisch verband. Complotdenkers en politieke kleur


Een tocht door de psyche van complotdenkers

door Teske WortmanGepubliceerd op 15 september 2021    

Een tocht door de psyche van complotdenkers

Conspiracy mentality and political orientation across 26 countries

Of pandemics, politics, and personality: The role of conscientiousness and political ideology in the sharing of fake news

In gesprek met complotdenkers? ‘Benader ze als iemand met schizofrenie’

Reactie op ‘Zijn complotdenkers psychotisch?’

Y de Kok

Mijn broer is er heilig van overtuigd dat de aarde plat is, of misschien toch anders gevormd maar zéker niet bolvormig, zoals we op school leren.

Complotdenkers zijn niet psychotisch

Complotdenkers hebben veel overeenkomsten met mensen die lijden aan paranoïde wanen.

Complotdenkers hebben volgens onderzoekers van het UMCG veel overeenkomsten met mensen die lijden aan paranoïde wanen.

Waarin complotdenken en wanen op elkaar lijken – en ook heel verschillend zijn

Sociopathic traits linked to non-compliance with mask guidelines and other COVID-19 containment measures

Australian Study Treats Climate Change Skepticism as a Mental Disorder

Science Denial and COVID Conspiracy TheoriesPotential Neurological Mechanisms and Possible Responses

In gesprek met complotdenkers? ‘Benader ze als iemand met schizofrenie’

Erasmus: Cognitieve processen van complotdenken

Wij willen weten hoe mensen informatie verwerken. Drie vragen staan centraal in ons onderzoek:

  1. Hoe gebruiken mensen informatie om zich een beeld van de wereld te vormen?
  2. Wat zijn de cognitieve mechanismen die er voor zorgen dat mensen kunnen gaan geloven in desinformatie en complottheorieën?
  3. Hoe kunnen wij er als onderzoekers voor zorgen dat mensen minder gevoelig worden voor desinformatie en complotdenken?

Studium Generale Hoe krijgen we vat op extreem gedachtegoed?

Duur 1:29:10 — Ma 7 juni 2021. Radicalisering in coronatijd Wie zijn deze mensen die de overheid wantrouwen? Met o.a. sociaal psycholoog prof. Kees van den Bos.

Outlook: Addressing Rigid Beliefs as a Social Problem


De reflectie van de complotdenker. Complottheorieën worden doorgaans gezien als verzinsels van rare, sociaal onaangepaste kwibussen. Steeds vaker blijkt echter dat ze wijder verspreid zijn dan gedacht: alleen al in belgië circuleren er niet enkel wilde ideeën over de bende van nijvel of de zaak-dutroux, maar ook over fenomenen als de klimaatverandering of de zogenaamd misleidende media. complotdenken vindt zeker niet uitsluitend vruchtbare grond bij irrationele individuen of mensen met psychologische problemen. misschien zit de neiging ertoe zelfs gewoon in onze hersenen ingebakken. de academische kijk op het thema is in ieder geval grondig aan het veranderen.

Hoe wordt iemand een complotdenker?

Dit artikel dateert van februari 2018, maar is terug actueel vanwege de vele complottheorieën over het verband tussen 5G en het coronavirus die online verspreid worden.

Stress versterkt overtuigingen die aan de basis liggen van stoornissen en complottheorieën


Complotdenken – Deskundigheidsbevordering georganiseerd door Rijksopleidingsinstituut tegengaan Radicalisering (ROR), Landelijk Steunpunt Extremisme (LSE) en gemeente Delft

Het ROR organiseert in samenwerking met gemeenten deskundigheidbevorderingsdagen voor de lokale professionals. Gezien de actualiteiten zijn dat momenteel online bijeenkomsten waarin een bepaald thema centraal staat.

Podcast Maatschappelijk ongenoegen en complotdenken ©

Geluidsfragment | 26-01-2021

In deze aflevering praten we met expert en universitair docent dr. Jelle van Buuren over maatschappelijk ongenoegen en complottheorieën ten tijde van COVID-19.

Hoe ga je als instituut om met andersdenkenden?

Hoe gaat het RIVM of de GGD om met mensen die overal een dubbele agenda in zien? ‘Meestal praten mensen óver ons, niet mét ons.’

EU RAN small-scale expert meeting Conclusion Harmful conspiracy myths and effective P/CVE countermeasures, online meeting 28 September 2020

Conspiracy theories, which should rather be called conspiracy myths due to their anti- or pseudoscientific narratives, continue to pose a key challenge for the prevention and countering of violent extremism (P/CVE) in Europe, since they play vital roles within extremist ideologies and recruitment and radicalisation.

In order to efficiently plan P/CVE interventions, it is necessary to understand which conspiratorial narratives could constitute a danger to the individuals believing in them and, by extension, to society.

EU  Identifying conspiracy theories

 Leeraanbod polarisatie en radicalisering

Het leeraanbod voor (jeugd)professionals op het gebied van de preventie van polarisatie en radicalisering is divers. Workshops, trainingen, e-learning, maar ook consultaties, magazines, intervisie en casusbesprekingen. De nieuwe gids ‘leeraanbod polarisatie en radicalisering voor (jeugd)professionals’ biedt een overzicht van het totale aanbod leermiddelen.

Unesco – Europese Commissie – Twitter en Jewish heritage

Conspiracy theories cause real harm to people, to their health, and also to their physical safety. They amplify and legitimize misconceptions about the pandemic, and reinforce stereotypes which can fuel violence and violent extremist ideologies.

Nieuw: website en handboek maatschappelijke stabiliteit

Nieuwsbericht | 04-01-2022 | 00:24

Professionals die willen bijdragen aan maatschappelijke stabiliteit kunnen hun licht opsteken op een nieuwe website met online handboek over dit thema. Een groot aantal (rijks)partners heeft hier publicaties, trainingen en contactinformatie bijeen gebracht.

Op 4 januari publiceert het ROR een website en handboek “maatschappelijke stabiliteit”, waarmee ze “maatschappelijke spanningen/onrust, polarisatie, radicalisering, extremisme en problematisch gedrag” beogen te verminderen.


Virologen maken duidelijk dat het risico van nieuwe coronavarianten niet is geweken, waardoor acties uit de radicale onderstroom na eventueel nieuwe maatregelen kunnen heropleven. Daarnaast zullen agitatoren en complotdenkers zich waarschijnlijk ook op andere maatschappelijke thema’s gaan richten waarin ze zich verzetten tegen de overheid.

NCTV: ‘Terroristische aanslag voorstelbaar’, extreem-rechts, jihadisme, complotdenkers

Complotdenkers worden gekoppeld aan geweld en radicalisering

OM: vrees voor activiteiten van complotdenkers op sociale media

Dit zei Kaag onlangs over Baudet:

“”Het gaat niet alleen om vanavond en het gaat niet alleen om mij”, zei Kaag. “Het bredere verhaal is radicalisering. Het zijn stemmen van extreemrechts.” Ook journalisten, politieagenten en rechters hebben hiermee te maken, zegt zij. “Mensen die zich keihard inzetten voor de publieke zaak.”

Nieuwe wet moet verbieden radicale organisaties makkelijker maken


Complotdenkende jongeren: hoe daarmee om te gaan als jeugdprofessional

Bill Gates zit achter het coronavirus. Omdat hij de wereldbevolking wil uitdunnen, zegt een meisje (16) tegen een jongerenwerker. Hoe zij dat weet? Dat heeft ze gelezen op social media. Een jongen (15) is ervan overtuigd dat een kleine elite probeert van burgers makke schapen te maken. Algemeen bekend, bromt hij tegen de jeugdmaatschappelijk werker. Hoe ga je als jeugdprofessional om met jongeren die geloven in complottheorieën?

Omgaan met complotdenken in de klas

Complottheorieën in de klas, hoe ga je ermee om?

Van de historische jodenvervolging tot de 21ste eeuwse Breivik, de vaccin-ontkenners en QAnon. Waarom ontstaan complottheorieën en waarom zijn ze zo aanlokkelijk? Hoe kan je ze herkennen? En waarom zijn ze vaak gevaarlijk?

Podcastreeks Complot tegen de waarheid


Guide to Conspiracy Theories,

Conspiracy Theory Handbook. -content/uploads/2020/03/ConspiracyTheoryHandbook.pdf


Hoe gek zijn complotdenkers eigenlijk?

Hoe ga je om met complotdenkers?

Steeds meer mensen hebben een familielid dat in complottheorieën gelooft. Hoe ga je met hen om? In het Duitse Brandenburg is een speciaal hulppunt opgericht voor mensen die daarmee worstelen. In het NOS Radio 1 Journaal sprak correspondent Charlotte Waaijers er iemand die een relatie had met een complotdenker.

Waarom zijn er opeens zoveel complotdenkers? – NRC

Verenigde Staten: Van ‘Pizzagate’ tot ‘geënsceneerde’ schietpartijen: het geloof in samenzweringstheorieën is diepgeworteld in de Amerikaanse cultuur. Maar in het tijdperk Trump hebben ..


‘Complotdenkers hebben soms gelijk’ – NRC

Interview: Jaron Harambam promoveert op complotdenkers. Ufo’s, leugenachtige vaccinatiecampagnes – complottheorieën zijn alom en zeer divers. „Wie mag bepalen wat waarheid is?”

Amerikaanse migratiecrisis voer voor complotdenkers – NRC

Als de complotdenkers een latenightshow maken – NRC

Complotdenken: op hol geslagen brein

Geplaatst op 12/09/2022 door Chris Klomp

Complotdenken is er altijd geweest. Maar bij een crisis stijgt het naar ongekende hoogte en dat heeft een reden. Als mensen zich onzeker of angstig voelen, worden er al snel losse verbanden gelegd en is het verleidelijk om een schuldige te zoeken. Iemand waar de onvrede op geprojecteerd kan worden. Complotdenken is hardnekkig omdat het een direct gevolg is van hoe ons brein werkt.

Complotdenken: op hol geslagen brein

Complotdenken: een ziekte van de democratie? (Prof. Marie Peltier)

Weigeren om gezondheidsregels op te volgen, vaccinatie afwijzen,… complottheorieën zijn te situeren in een denkbeeldige wereld met verschillende gradaties van intensiteit. Hoe ga je om met een patiënt die samenzweringsdenken uit? Enkele tips van professor Marie Peltier, historica, onderzoeker, essayist, specialist in samenzweringsdenken en docent geschiedenis aan het Hoger Onderwijsinstituut Galileo in Brussel.

Drie ingrediënten waaraan je een complottheorie kunt herkennen

Staat geen datum bij

Help, mijn vriend is een complotdenker!

Hoe ga je in gesprek met een complotdenker?

12 mei 2021  Of het nou complotdenkers zijn die roepen dat corona één groot complot is, je oom die roept dat alle vluchtelingen verkrachters zijn of je nicht die de bio-industrie vergelijkt met de Holocaust. Allemaal hebben ze één ding met elkaar gemeen: hun uitspraken zijn redelijk extreem. Volgens pedagoog Stijn Sieckelinck (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | Hogeschool van Amsterdam) is het niet gek dat ze juist nu opduiken; tijdens een pandemie. Hij legt uit waarom we allemaal steeds extremer worden en legt je uit hoe je het beste in gesprek kan gaan met iemand waarmee jij het niet eens bent.

Academische referenties

    Andrade, G. (2020). The role of psychiatrists in addressing COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 53, 102404.

    Bhui, K. (2018). Radicalisation and mental health. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 72(1), 16-19.

    De Ridder, B., Fassaert, T., & Grimbergen, C. (2019). Radicalisering en psychiatrie: pleidooi voor een brede blik. Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie, 61(10), 677-677.

    De Vroege, L., & Van den Broek, A. (2021). Substantial Impact of COVID-19 on Self-Reported Mental Health of Healthcare Professionals in the Netherlands. Frontiers in Public Health, 9.

    Dom, G., Schouler-Ocak, M., Bhui, K., Demunter, H., Kuey, L., Raballo, A., Frydecka, D. & Misiak, B. (2018). Mass violence, radicalization and terrorism; a role for psychiatric profession? European Psychiatry, 49, 78-80.

    Doosje, B., Sizoo, B. & Van Meijel. (2022). Percepties over radicalisering en psychiatrie in de relatie tussen ggz en veiligheidsdomein. Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie, 64(1), 12-17.

    Freeman, D., Waite, F., Rosebrock, L., Petit, A., Causier, C., East, A., … & Lambe, S. (2020). Coronavirus conspiracy beliefs, mistrust, and compliance with government guidelines in England. Psychological medicine, 1-13.

    Furnham, A. & Grover, S. (2021). Do you have to be mad to believe in conspiracy theories? Personality disorders and conspiracy theories. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, DOI: 00207640211031614.

    Goodwin, L., Gazard, B., Aschan, L., MacCrimmon, S., Hotopf, M. & Hatch, S.L. (2018). Taking an intersectional approach to define latent classes of socioeconomic status, ethnicity and migration status for psychiatric epidemiological research. Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences, 27(6), 589-600.

    Imhoff, R., & Lamberty, P. (2018). How paranoid are conspiracy believers? Toward a more fine-grained understanding of the connect and disconnect between paranoia and belief in conspiracy theories. European journal of social psychology, 48(7), 909-926.

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