Human beings are naturally curious and are constantly searching for meaning and understanding in the world around them. This search often leads us to explore and investigate new ideas and concepts, some of which may seem strange or even bizarre to others. However, why do people believe weird things? What drives people to embrace ideas that may seem counterintuitive, illogical, or even dangerous?
This blog post will explore the psychology of belief and why people are sometimes drawn to beliefs that may seem weird or unorthodox. We will explore the factors that influence our beliefs, how they can become entrenched over time, and the consequences of embracing ideas that are not supported by evidence or reason.
Part 1: What Are Weird Beliefs?
Before we can explore why people believe weird things, we need to define what we mean by “weird beliefs.” In general, weird beliefs are those ideas that are not supported by evidence or reason and may seem implausible, illogical, or even nonsensical to others. They may involve supernatural or paranormal phenomena, conspiracy theories, or alternative explanations for scientific or historical events.
Examples of weird beliefs include:
- Flat Earth theory: the belief that the Earth is not round, but rather a flat disc.
- Alien abductions: the belief that extraterrestrial beings have abducted humans and conducted experiments on them.
- Cryptids: the belief in creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Chupacabra that have not been scientifically proven to exist.
- Conspiracy theories: the belief that powerful groups or individuals are secretly controlling world events.
- Pseudoscientific ideas: such as the belief in astrology, homeopathy, or crystal healing, which are not supported by scientific evidence.
Part 2: Why Do People Believe Weird Things?
Now that we have defined what we mean by “weird beliefs,” we can begin to explore why people are drawn to these ideas. There are a number of factors that can influence our beliefs and make us more susceptible to ideas that may seem strange or unorthodox.
Confirmation Bias – Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs while ignoring or dismissing information that contradicts them. This bias can make it difficult for us to change our minds about a particular idea or concept, even when presented with evidence that contradicts it.
Cognitive Dissonance – Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort or mental stress that arises when we hold two or more contradictory beliefs or values at the same time. This can cause us to seek out information or rationalizations that help to resolve this dissonance, even if it means embracing ideas that are not supported by evidence or reason.
Emotional Needs – Our emotional needs, such as the need for comfort, security, and belonging, can also influence our beliefs. We may be more likely to embrace ideas that provide us with a sense of comfort or security, even if they are not supported by evidence or reason.
Social Influence – The people around us can also influence our beliefs. We may be more likely to adopt the beliefs of our social group or community, even if they are not supported by evidence or reason. This can create a sense of belonging and identity, but can also make it difficult for us to question or challenge our beliefs.
Cognitive Biases – Finally, there are a number of cognitive biases that can influence our beliefs. These include the availability heuristic (the tendency to overestimate the importance of information that is easily available), the illusion of control (the belief that we have more control over events than we actually do), and the sunk cost fallacy (the tendency to continue investing in a belief or idea, even when it is no longer rational or beneficial
10 Weird things people do
- Talking to themselves: Many people have been caught talking to themselves when they think nobody is around. This behavior is believed to help with problem-solving and self-reflection.
- Picking their nose: Despite being considered socially unacceptable, many people engage in nose-picking as it provides a sense of satisfaction and relief.
- Biting their nails: Nail-biting is a common habit that many people engage in, often without even realizing it. This behavior is usually associated with anxiety and nervousness.
- Hoarding: Hoarding is the excessive accumulation of items, often to the point where it becomes difficult to navigate one’s living space. This behavior is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Eating non-food items: Pica is a condition where people have an intense craving to eat non-food items, such as dirt, chalk, or paper. This behavior is usually associated with nutrient deficiencies or psychological disorders.
- Sleepwalking: Sleepwalking is a parasomnia where people walk or perform activities while still asleep. This behavior can be dangerous as sleepwalkers are often unaware of their surroundings.
- Licking their lips: While this behavior may seem harmless, excessive lip-licking can lead to chapped and irritated lips. This behavior is often associated with anxiety or dry mouth.
- Obsessively checking social media: Many people feel compelled to constantly check their social media accounts, even if there is no new content to see. This behavior is often associated with addiction and a fear of missing out (FOMO).
- Pulling out hair: Trichotillomania is a condition where people have an uncontrollable urge to pull out their hair, often resulting in hair loss. This behavior is usually associated with anxiety or stress.
- Tapping their foot: While tapping one’s foot may seem harmless, excessive foot-tapping can be annoying to those around them. This behavior is often associated with anxiety or restlessness.