10 May 2016 5:00pm - 7:00pm SG1, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT


A public lecture by Rob Brotherton (Barnard College, Columbia University)


Why do people believe conspiracy theories? What’s the harm if they do? And just what is a conspiracy theory, anyway? Conspiracy theories captured the attention of philosophers and historians decades ago, but it is only within the last few years that psychologists have begun gathering data on these kinds of questions. In this talk, Rob Brotherton provides a psychological perspective on conspiracism, drawing on his own research as well as other insights explored in his new book Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories. In particular, research into cognitive biases and heuristics – quirks in the way our brains are wired – suggests that we’re all intuitive conspiracy theorists; some of us just hide it better than others.

Rob Brotherton is an academic psychologist and science writer. He completed a PhD on the psychology of conspiracy theories with the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2013. Rob lectured at Goldsmiths for a year before moving to New York City, where he now teaches classes on conspiracy theories and science communication, as well as other aspects of psychology, at Barnard College, Columbia University. Rob's book on the psychology of conspiracy theories, Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories, was published by Bloomsbury in 2015.

This event is open to all and will be followed by a wine reception. 

This is part of a series of public talks from the Leverhulme-funded project Conspiracy and Democracy. More information at http://www.conspiracyanddemocracy.org/

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