• Why did the third World Trade Center building (WTC7) collapse on September 11th , even though it was not struck by any aircraft?
    • Why did Princess Diana’s "drunk" driver look sober as he climbed into the car minutes before their deadly accident?
    • Could a slender birch tree really have caused the plane crash which killed the President of Poland in 2010?

    ‘Conspiracy thinking’ – the search for explanations of significant global events in clandestine plots, suppressed knowledge and the secret actions of elite groups – provides simple and logical answers to the social doubts and uncertainties that occur at times of major national and international crises. Contemporary social psychology seeks to explain the human motivation to create, share and receive conspiracy theories, and to shed light on the consequences of these theories for people’s social and political functioning.

    This important collection, written by leading researchers in the field, is the first to apply quantitative empirical findings to the subject of conspiracy theorizing. The first section of the book explores conspiracy theories in the context of group perception and intergroup relations, paying particular attention to anti-Semitic conspiracy stereotypes. It then goes on to examine the relationship between an individual’s political ideology and the degree to which they engage in ‘conspiracy thinking’. The concluding part of the book considers the explanatory power of conspiracy, focusing on the link between social paranoia and digital media, and highlighting the social, political, and environmental consequences of conspiracy theories.

    The Psychology of Conspiracy will be of great interest to academics and researchers in social and political psychology, and a valuable resource to those in the fields of social policy, anthropology, political science, and cultural studies.

    part I|76 pages

    Conspiracy theories in group perception

    chapter 1|20 pages

    Conspiracy Stereotypes

    Their sociopsychological antecedents and consequences
    ByMichal Bilewicz, Grzegorz Sedek

    chapter 2|19 pages

    Conspiracy Theories on the Map of Stereotype Content

    Survey and historical evidence
    ByMikolaj Winiewski, Wiktor Soral, Michal Bilewicz

    chapter 3|20 pages

    Grandiose Delusions

    Collective narcissism, secure in-group identification, and belief in conspiracies
    ByAleksandra Cichocka, Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, Marta Marchlewska, Mateusz Olechowski

    chapter 4|15 pages

    Conspiracy Theory as Collective Motivated Cognition

    ByPéter Krekó

    part II|66 pages

    Conspiracy theories and ideology

    chapter 5|20 pages

    Mutual Suspicion at the Political Extremes

    How ideology predicts belief in conspiracy theories
    ByJan-Willem van Prooijen, André P. M. Krouwel

    chapter 6|23 pages

    Are the High Authoritarians more Prone to Adopt Conspiracy Theories?

    The role of right-wing authoritarianism in conspiratorial thinking
    ByMonika Grzesiak-Feldman

    chapter 7|21 pages

    Beyond (Right-Wing) Authoritarianism

    Conspiracy mentality as an incremental predictor of prejudice
    ByRoland Imhoff

    part III|58 pages

    Conspiracy theories as explanatory structures

    chapter 8|17 pages

    Motivated Roots of Conspiracies

    The role of certainty and control motives in conspiracy thinking
    ByMałgorzata Kossowska, Marcin Bukowski

    chapter 9|21 pages

    Behind the Screen Conspirators

    Paranoid social cognition in an online age
    ByOlivier Klein, Nicolas Van der Linden, Myrto Pantazi, Mikhail Kissine

    chapter 10|18 pages

    The Social, Political, Environmental, and Health-Related Consequences of Conspiracy Theories

    Problems and potential solutions
    ByKaren M. Douglas, Robbie M. Sutton, Daniel Jolley, Michael J. Wood