This book focuses on the social psychology of belief systems and how they influence perceptions of reality. These belief systems, from politics to religion to science, not only shape one’s thoughts and views but also can be the cause of conflict and disagreement over values, particularly when they are enacted in political policies.

In Belief Systems and the Perceptions of Reality, editors Bastiaan T. Rutjens and Mark J. Brandt examine the social psychological effects at the heart of the conflict by bringing together contributions under five themes: motivated reasoning, inequality, threat, scientists interpreting science, and people interpreting science. This book aims to create a more integrated understanding of reality perception and its connection with belief systems, viewed through the lens of social psychology.

The synthesis of expert contributors as well as the literature around social psychology and belief systems makes this a unique resource for students, researchers and academics in behavioural and social sciences as well as activists and journalists working in this political field.

chapter |6 pages


part Theme 1|22 pages

Motivated reasoning

chapter 1|22 pages

What is right is right

A three-part account of how ideology shapes factual belief

chapter 2|15 pages

System-level biases in the production and consumption of information

Implications for system resilience and radical change

part Theme 2|18 pages


chapter 4|16 pages

Perceptions of gender inequality in academia

Reluctance to let go of individual merit ideology

part Theme 5|17 pages

People interpreting science

chapter 9|17 pages

In genes we trust

On the consequences of genetic essentialism

chapter 10|15 pages

Post-truth, anti-truth, and can’t-handle-the-truth

How responses to science are shaped by concerns about its impact