Why do people adopt conspiracy theories, how are they communicated, and what are their risks?

This project is a multi-disciplinary literature review on the emergence, transmission, spread, and countering of conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories affect people’s perceptions, beliefs and actions and thus may influence whether people justify violent action, cooperate (or not) with a particular agency, or even justify a decision to go to war. This project will encompass different disciplinary perspectives – psychology, political science, sociology, and information engineering. It will consider how risks from conspiracy theories might vary across different areas of the world, across different political climates, at different levels (individual to state), and in different media (e.g., face to face vs online).

Research questions

  • Why do people adopt conspiracy theories? Psychological, political and social factors.
  • How are conspiracy theories communicated?
  • What are the risks associated with conspiracy theories?

Principal investigator

Professor Karen Douglas

Institution

University of Kent, UK

Staff

 

Outputs

 

How are conspiracy theories adopted and what are their risks?

Conspiracy Theories: How are they adopted, communicated, and what are their risks? CoverCREST has launched a new report today on why people adopt conspiracy theories, how these are communicated, and risks they possess. The new CREST...Read More »

Conspiracy Theories: How are they adopted, communicated, and what are their risks? (Full Report)

Why do people adopt conspiracy theories, how are they communicated, and what are their risks? A new CREST report examines these questions, drawing on...Read More »

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

What psychological factors drive the popularity of conspiracy theories, which explain important events as secret plots by powerful and malevolent groups? What are the...Read More »

Understanding Conspiracy Theories

Scholarly efforts to understand conspiracy theories have grown significantly in recent years, and there is now a broad and interdisciplinary literature. In reviewing this...Read More »