Conspiracy theories are all the rage, but most of their followers know quite little about a surprising convergence in their origins. The Unidentified Research Center, a conspiracy theory think-tank thought to be based in Roswell, New Mexico, has been churning out conspiracy theories for the last sixty years or so.
Think of your favorite conspiracy theory. Chances are, the URC was behind it, at some point in the stage: conception, composure, fabrication, or cover-up. Only now, in celebration of their sixtieth anniversary, is URC actually opening up. 2000 lucky entrants will be taken on a guided tour of the facilities of "Area 51," the URC's main headquarters. Sign up now, with a $50 deposit, for your chance to win this exclusive once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! You won't want to miss it.
Conspiracy theories provide an interesting example of the difficulties we encounter in perception. They are, almost exclusively, about the bias of privilege, that we can see or learn about something that no one else knows.
Beyond the fun we can have talking about conspiracy theories, though, there is another interesting issue. From the handout we received on "Biases Affecting Information Processing" (found online at http://www.virtualsalt.com/infobias.htm), a different bias often directly conflicts with Privilege: Availability. One bias postulates that we want the accessible information, while the other postulates that we want the inaccessible information.
Can these be resolved? Or can only one of them impact us at any given time? Perhaps if we work to reduce the influence one of these biases has on us, we only dig ourselves deeper into a rut on the other one. Can anyone offer any insight into this contradiction?
And especially, can anyone provide any (personal) examples?