Why people latch on to conspiracy theories, according to science
Misinformation spurred the mob that stormed the Capitol, highlighting the disastrous effects such theories can produce.
Insurgents swarmed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to create chaos and defy legislators who had gathered to certify electoral votes. The presidential election, they say, was stolen—a belief encouraged by a powerful and trusted leader.
“They rigged an election,” President Donald Trump falsely claimed earlier that day to a crowd of thousands of supporters in Washington D.C. “Make no mistake, this election was stolen from you, from me, and from the country”
But the idea that the election was rigged is, by definition, a conspiracy theory—an explanation for events that relies on the assertion that powerful people are dishonestly manipulating society. In reality, dozens of lawsuits espousing accusations of voter fraud have been thrown out by state and