The claim that conspiracy theories are born out of a psychological bias known as 'spontaneous trait transference,' which leads people to believe that 'those who point out problems' are at fault.

Modern society faces a variety of problems, including climate change, pandemics, and social unrest. While some people are sounding the alarm about these issues, others are ignoring or criticizing those warnings by preaching conspiracy theories. Social psychologist Jessica Wildfire explains why people who sound the alarm are criticized.

How Good, Kind, Caring People Became The Bad Guys

Wildfire confessed that his mother suffered from schizophrenia. Wildfire's mother suffered from delusions such as 'The CIA is spying on my husband,' 'A category 4 hurricane is going to hit our house,' and 'My daughter is an alien.' She would sometimes try to throw homemade bombs into Wildfire's room in the middle of the night and seduce Wildfire's younger brother.

Eventually, Wildfire began to understand when his mother's mental condition was deteriorating. He tried to warn his father and brother, but they didn't listen to his warnings and instead thought that Wildfire was trying to destroy the family. Eventually, his mother became violent towards her family and was arrested by the police.

From this experience, Wildfire learned that people tend to be suspicious of those who warn them of threats, a psychological bias that psychologists John Skowronski and Donal Carlston described in 1998 as ' spontaneous trait transference .'

Spontaneous trait transference is a psychological phenomenon in which a listener mistakenly perceives a trait described by another person as a trait of the speaker himself. For example, say someone says, 'That person is dishonest.' When spontaneous trait transference occurs, the listener unconsciously associates the trait of 'dishonesty' with the speaker and thinks, 'The speaker is a dishonest person.'

This phenomenon is especially prevalent when it comes to negative traits: the more a person mentions a negative trait in another person, the more likely the listener is to mistakenly believe that the speaker has that trait themselves.

In 2019, a research team led by Harvard psychologist Leslie John reviewed hundreds of studies and conducted 11 different experiments, and published the results of a study that found that people tend to punish those who deliver bad news.

The researchers say the human brain tends to seek out the simplest explanations for negative events, especially those that preserve self-image or group harmony, and that people tend to attribute causes to those 'close to the event.'

That is, the first person to deliver bad news becomes an easy target for listeners to look for the cause of the undesirable outcome. Bad news motivates people to come up with 'false' causal explanations. These explanations are generated through 'poor reasoning characterized by shallow and unconscious thinking.'

Wildfire cites spontaneous trait transference as one of the reasons why many conspiracy theories are born in the midst of modern social problems such as climate change and political instability. When people who sound the alarm about social problems are criticized, the true cause of the problem is often not the person themselves, but rather spontaneous trait transference causes people to direct their anger at the person who sounds the alarm, Wildfire argues.

Wildfire says that the following is necessary to address these human psychological biases, and emphasizes that it is important not to give up even if it takes time to change people's attitudes.

- Maintain an intelligent, positive, caring, mature and respectful attitude.
-Strike a balance between being direct and communicating well.
- Understand that you may not get the results you want in the short term.
- Understand that sometimes you need to be creative in guiding people in the right direction.

in Note, Posted by log1i_yk