Great little nugget from The Boston Globe Ideas section’s weekly roundup of interesting research findings (and if you don’t read Ideas, you really should, as it has consistently fascinating stuff):

All the conspiracies are true!

Is Osama bin Laden still alive? Or was he already dead before the US raid that supposedly killed him? These two conspiracy theories appear to contradict each other, but psychologists in Britain have found that such logical problems don’t deter conspiracists from believing both. When people were asked about the Osama bin Laden raid, endorsing one of these theories didn’t preclude endorsing the other. Likewise, when asked to evaluate various theories about the death of Princess Diana, even people who arguably should’ve known better — British students in a psychology research methods class — had trouble sorting things out. Believing that Diana faked her own death was significantly associated with also believing that she was killed by business enemies of the Fayeds, which was, in turn, strongly associated with believing that she was killed by a rogue cell of the British secret service. The simultaneous acceptance of these conflicting theories seems to be motivated by an overarching belief in deceptive coverups by authorities.

Study is here.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.