Analysis of conspiracy theories related to Covid-19 vaccine from the perspective of cognitive closure

Nobutaka Ikeda 
Volume 6 Issue 1 Pages 45-62
First Published: June 17, 2023
[in Japanese]



Conspiracy theories prevail in modern society and affect human actions. Some of the proposed mechanisms people get into conspiracy theories are natural selection, loss of emotional control, and cognitive burden. Here I introduce the need for cognitive closure, one of the human tendencies to run away from vague ideas and jump to explicit conclusions, as a way to explain the process in which conspiracy theories prosper in individuals and clusters. The primitive belief is formed to explain anxiety and disbelief in the individual and makes falsifications lose their function to rebut. On the existence of the belief stabilized as such, falsifications in the world are most clearly explained by a certain group of people, with a certain purpose, trying to rebut the belief. Those ideas are shared in the clusters, and more and more people lean toward certain conspiracy theories. Bearing those mechanisms in mind, there are some ways to resist to conspiracy theories: relaxation and communication as a way of levitating anxiety and disbelief; introducing appropriate authoritarianism, especially science in the youth and succeeding falsificationism; sharing appropriate information and persuading explanation immediately via mass media.


Key words

Conspiracy theory, need for cognitive closure, falsifications, Covid-19 vaccine