Conspiracy theories are blooming in the 21st century. They accompany almost all significant social and political events, such as the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and the 9/11 terrorists attacks. Whilst psychologists are learning more about who endorses conspiracy theories, and why, little is known about their potential consequences. Initially some people thought conspiracy theories were ridiculous beliefs that are simply harmless fun. In this talk however, I present my current research programme where this assumption is turned on its head. I will first present a series of studies examining the social and political consequences of conspiracy theories. Next, I will discuss the system-justifying function of conspiracy theories, before ending with some on-going research into addressing their consequences. The aim of this talk is to ultimately highlight some of the potentially damaging consequences of conspiracy theories.
Dr Daniel Jolley completed his PhD in 2014 at the University of Kent on the psychology of conspiracy theories. He is currently a post-doctoral Research Associate at Lancaster University, but from September 2015 will be appointed as a Lecturer in Psychology at Staffordshire University.
APRU Invited Speaker Programme
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