A highlight from Unraveling the QAnon Conspiracy Theory
Do you think something that's giving it. Legs is the fact that it's constantly being discussed in the media. Are you proposing a conspiracy theory game. I i struggle with this so much. Because i just i honestly believe that if you walked up to any a non follower and you said to them. I'm a reptilian and i live under the flat earth. They would immediately call you a liar yet. They believe that it's out there. You're listening to inside mental health. A psych central podcast where experts share experiences and the latest thinking on mental health and psychology. Here's your host gave howard. I'm your host. Gave howard. And i want to quickly. Thank our sponsor better help you can grab a week free by visiting better. Help dot com slash psych central. Call into our show today. We have sophia moskalenko. Dr moskalenko is a social and clinical psychologist studying mass identity and conspiracy theories at the georgia state university's evidence based cybersecurity group. She is also the author of pastels and pedophile inside. The mind of qa non dr moskalenko welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. The cuban on conspiracy is everywhere. We've heard it from the senate floor from the presidential pulpit. For pete's sake it's literally been mentioned at the highest levels of government all the way down to cd social media platform chat rooms. But what exactly is it. What is cunanan. Cunanan is a baseless. And debunk conspiracy theory or rather. It's a whole lot of different conspiracy theories under one umbrella and they range from things like flat earth and lizard. People the idea that there are these lizard human hybrid living among us to the belief. That a satan-worshipping kabbah Had a files has taken over the control of the american government and the media it of course also includes all kinds of beliefs about the covert virus and the next scene being either poison. Or you know something that can turn your child into. Lgbtq or something that carries a micro tracking device. So they're all kinds of different conspiracy theories at all fall under the cunanan bro. It's really like an amazon off conspiracy theories there's something there for everyone. When i first heard about cunanan i thought it was a group. Is it a structured group. Is there a leadership membership. Can you join it or is it literally just a collection of of nonsense right. There is no leadership to speak off initially hewitt on begun with these q. Drops these cryptic pieces of information that appeared on chance this like lesser-used social media sites that people interpreted as though they were puzzled. And there's a lot of controversy about who the poster was for these original hugh drops who the chew so to speak was the. Hbo did a documentary and at the end they couldn't really say definitively but they thought probably was more than one person posting by today hewitt on following counts in tens of millions in the us alone and it has spread around the world to dozens of countries. It's a very loose following. It's not like their weekly meetings or there's some you know checkpoints you need to pass in order to get to the hyun on stronger law you too can go online and seek out the influencers who spread to an on content and click by click. You will end up down the rabbit hole of they call it where all kinds of theories are formulated. An augmented and discussed about how the world really really works. Whether the she chris ins and outs of how the economy's controlled and who runs the world government and and who are in the cabal and so on some people believe that cunanan is a colt. Some people believe that it's a religion and there's yet another group of people that are like no no no it's a political movement. I'm having trouble understanding. Exactly what it is. because it's it's so fanciful. i mean lizard. People have taken over our governments. I don't understand how this gained any traction let alone. Millions of followers but for the purpose of understanding this phenomenon is cunanan called. is it a religion. Is it a political movement does it have a name is q. In on a call to the best of my knowledge of what occult call is it usually is a pretty tight knit face to face group with a very specific leadership and very specific rules for belonging and or leaving hewitt on is not face to face people interact with other cunanan followers through the internet. They usually don't know them. You know they are not compelled to exchange. You know their addresses and names and phone numbers and so on. There is no central leadership. You know were hard pressed to even find out who their original hugh drops came from. And it's a really broad group. It doesn't really seem to to satisfy the definition of occult in my opinion is it a religion I am a little rusty on what defines religion but it seems to me. There has to be a central tenant or belief and as i mentioned queuing on is such a broad set of beliefs and a lot of people who are queuing on followers believed some but not others often kinda quibble with each other online or these queuing on followers who sneer at at those. Who believe in lizard people and they're both who believe the space lasers and maybe some other kid on followers don't it doesn't seem like it's like a religion either because there's no central tenet as far as their beliefs are concerned. So what really is it. How should we think about it in my work on case studies that i've analyzed for the bulk really indepth analysis of dozens of cunanan followers social media output their own writing their posts of videos and interviews. They gave and also looking at some of the research data that my colleagues are now putting out. It seems to me. This is my professional but personal opinion but hewing on is kind of a site geist. It's a refuge for people who feel like the society's leaving them behind they share a number of grievances about the government about how our country's run the decisions that are in charge of their lives. They share a deep mistrust about science. That me their daily lives from you know the food they eat that has pesticides and hormones and all of that and the medicines they take and the computers they use all of the signs in their lives is giving them a lot of anxiety and uncertainty and the most general saying that we can say about queuing on. I believe is that it's an escape route for those among us who don't feel comfortable or respected or welcomed in this society as it is right now but they've turned violent. It's my understanding that the majority of the rioters at the us capitol on january six were queuing. Non believers isn't that concerning. I mean tens of millions of people that are defending their beliefs with violence. It's frightening would be frightening if it were true. The majority of people who stormed the capitol hill building on january six in fact were not queuing on followers. How many work you in on followers. While as of about a month ago. I believe the number was sixty. One people indicted for participation in the january. Six riot were in detroit on followers.