Mar 12, 2024

CNN Interviews Prof. Coye Cheshire and Ph.D. Student Sijia Xiao About Chemtrails

From CNN

The truth behind those white streaks trailing behind jets in the sky

By Leah Asmelash

We’ve all seen those white streaks trailing behind jets, creating stripes against the blue sky...

There’s no single official version of the theory, said Sijia Xiao, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, who conducted a 2021 study exploring the chemtrails conspiracy theory and interviewing 20 believers and former believers. Instead, individuals “pick and choose aspects that resonate with them, mixing in personal interpretations or selectively adopting parts of the theory...”

Social media’s algorithmic structure means people see information that reinforces their existing beliefs. Ex-believers interviewed attributed their ongoing belief in part to the “sheer amount of pro-conspiracy information” on their social media feeds, said Coye Cheshire, a professor at UC Berkeley studying social psychology, who was also involved in the study with Xiao. Scientific evidence debunking the theories simply wouldn’t make it onto their feeds or in their social groups. Even if it did, other believers will only reinforce the theory...


Coye Cheshire is a professor at the I School researching sociological social psychology and group processes, with a focus in social exchange, cooperation, and trust in technology-mediated environments.

Sijia Xiao is a Ph.D. candidate under Coye Cheshire. She studies human-computer interaction and social computing.

Last updated:

March 14, 2024