Dr Dan Jolley comes on the show to talk about conspiracy theories and the psychology that underlies many of these beliefs. They can include just about any political and social event. Conspiracy theories around the death of Princess Diana and 9/11 seem incredible but there are sound psychological reasons why people believe them. And, of course, conspiracies about vaccines can have very real health consequences. Rather than dismissing conspiracy theorists we talk about the important efforts to understand how and why people feel like this, how we are all a little susceptible, and how we can engage with conspiracy theorists.
People use conspiracy theories to make sense of the world – particularly when faced with major events that provoke anxiety and can seem hard to explain. Conspiracy theories offer a short-term hit of reassurance but they can, if left unchallenged, be associated with isolation and ostracisation. Some evidence also shows how our natural pattern recognition habits get triggered by conspiracy theories and as we try to make sense of the world it can become maladaptive. Dan also tells us about work going on, and research he is doing, into how we address conspiracy theories and the process of ‘innoculation’ against conspiracy theories.
Dr Dan Jolley’s website: danieljolley.co.uk
Avril Lavigne conspiracy theory
Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings conspiracy
Rational Wiki: Jewish conspiracy
Princess Diana death conspiracy theories
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