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Jan-Willem van Prooijen : CUES: Basic Principles of Conspiracy Theories

  • MF-A505 V.d.Boechorststraat 7-9 Amsterdam Netherlands (map)

Citizens across the globe widely believe conspiracy theories in which powerholders or societal groups are accused of immoral and illegal conduct. In the current presentation, I highlight four basic principles that characterize belief in conspiracy theories. These four principles are summarized through the acronym CUES: Conspiracy theories are Consequential as they have a real impact on people’s health, relationships, and safety; they are Universal as belief in them is widespread across times, cultures, and social settings; they are Emotional as negative emotions and not rational deliberations cause conspiracy beliefs; and, they are Social as conspiracy beliefs are closely associated with psychological motivations underlying intergroup conflict. At the end of my talk I illuminate how the social sciences may help design interventions to reduce conspiracy theories among the public.