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Q&A: Teaching About Conspiracy Theories
Ever thought about teaching a semester-long course on conspiracy theories? Dr. Luke Ritter, professor of American history in the Department of History and Political Science at New Mexico Highlands University, gave it a try. Read our Q&A with Dr. Ritter to discover what he learned.
The moment that I brought up reasoning, everyone seemed to struggle with it. I don't know if that's because the content was especially tedious and difficult, or because they didn't really feel like analyzing their favorite conspiracy theories in a sort of cold and calculating way.
Connect the Dots
"Connect the dots" is a metaphor for the ability to associate one idea with another, to find the signal in the noise.
Illusory pattern perception is a phenomenon where people see patterns in random events. They see signal where there is only noise. Some research has found that people who are inclined to illusory pattern perception are also inclined to conspiracy thinking.
Test your ability to connect the dots in this ICTA zine.
How to Debunk a Conspiracy Theory
What form of debunking is more effective? This ICTA exercise is designed primarily for high school or college instructors who can use it to test whether researching the facts or mocking the idea through humor is more effective for debunking. It uses the salad dressing conspiracy theory as its starting point.
Take the exercise for a test run yourself, and see which method seems more effective to you.
Conspiracy Theory Bingo
Most of us encounter conspiracy theories regularly as we go about our daily lives.
Track all the conspiracy theories you run into on this ICTA bingo card. First person to get all five in a row or column - or five on the diagonal - wins!