Psychologists at Northumbria University believe they have provided the first scientific evidence between 5G COVID-19 conspiracy theories and violence towards the telecoms sector.
While the results of this experiment could be applied to any conspiracy theory where the harm is directed towards individuals not society at large, the work here specifically examined the impact of the COVID-19 related stories, namely that the coronavirus pandemic is a cover-up for the health consequences of 5G.
“Disconcertingly, the consequences of conspiracy theories are significant and wide-ranging,” said Daniel Jolley, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the university. “Our novel findings extend our understanding and provide the first empirical link between 5G COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and violent reactions, alongside uncovering why (anger) and when (paranoia) conspiracy beliefs may justify the use of violence.”
You can read the full research paper, which was submitted to the British Journal of Social Psychology here.
The research focused on testing 601 individuals to understand how validated violence was in the minds of those who saw some sort of credibility in the conspiracy theories. In short, the individuals who were more inclined to believe the conspiracy theories, but also displayed some sort of paranoid behaviour were much more likely to be open to violent actions.
This is of course applicable to multiple different conspiracy theories where the negative is directly consequential to the individual as opposed to a concept, such as society or the economy, but it is very relevant to the word we find ourselves in today.
With the world searching for an explanation for the coronavirus pandemic, some decided to offer credibility to certain conspiracy theories. Whilst simultaneously ignoring statements from scientists and medical professionals that it was impossible for 5G to cause a flu-like virus, sub-strains of the conspiracy theory began to develop. Soon enough, a small minority of individuals took action.
In several locations across the UK, telecoms infrastructure was attacked by the ill-informed, believing they were protecting society from COVID-19 by attacking 5G antenna and threatening staff. Ironically, much of the damaged infrastructure was in fact 4G, none of the threatened staff had anything to do with 5G deployments, and the infrastructure being destroyed was the exact same networks enabling emergency services to work and scientists to create a vaccine.
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