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.
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Earlier Event: April 15Leander van der Meij
Later Event: May 6Gert-Jan Munneke: Evolutionary mismatch in moral judgment