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The University of Southampton
PsychologyOur news, events & seminars

Secrets and lies: The psychology of conspiracy theories Seminar

12:30 - 13:30
19 November 2015
University of Southampton Highfield Campus Building 44 (Shackleton) Room 3031/3033

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Sue McNally on 02380 595150 or email .

Event details

Was 9/11 an inside job? Is climate change a hoax? Was Princess Diana murdered? Was Princess Diana murdered? Millions of people appear to think so, disbelieving official explanations for significant events in favour of alternative accounts that are often called ‘conspiracy theories’. In recent years, psychologists have begun to investigate what makes conspiracy theories appealing to so many people. In this talk, I will broadly overview what psychologists have found out so far, and will discuss some of my own findings on the causes and consequences of believing in conspiracy theories.


Speaker information

Professor Karen Douglas, University of Kent. My primary research focus is on beliefs in conspiracy theories. Why are conspiracy theories so popular? Who believes them? Why do people believe them? What are some of the consequences of conspiracy theories and can such theories be harmful? I am also interested in the social psychology of human communication, including how people manipulate subtle features of their language in order to achieve social goals, how they examine other people's language to learn about them, the psychology of sexist language, and how people formulate and respond to criticism.

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