1st Edition

Belief Systems and the Perception of Reality

Edited By Bastiaan Rutjens, Mark Brandt Copyright 2019
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.


    1. What is Right is Right: A Three-part Account of How Ideology Shapes Factual Belief Megan M. Ringel, Cristian G. Rodriguez, and Peter H. Ditto
    2. System-level biases in the production and consumption of information: implications for system resilience and radical change Erin P. Hennes, Adam J. Hampton, Ezgi Ozgumus, and Thomas J. Hamori
    3. Ideology and Perceptions of Inequality Denise Baron, Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington, & Nour Kteily

    5. Perceptions of gender inequality in academia: reluctance to let go of individual merit ideology Romy van der Lee & Naomi Ellemers
    6. Populism as political mentality underlying conspiracy theories Jan-Willem van Prooijen
    7. The role of cultural beliefs and existential motivation in suffering perceptions Daniel Sullivan, Roman Palitsky, and Isaac F. Young
    8. Direct and indirect influences of political ideology on perceptions of scientific findings Sean T. Stevens, Lee Jussim, Stephanie M. Anglin, and Nathan Honeycutt 
    9. Strategies for promoting strong inferences in political psychology research Anthony N. Washburn and Linda J. Skitka
    10. In genes we trust: on the consequences of genetic essentialism Anita Schmalor and Steven J. Heine
    11. Post-truth, anti-truth, and can't-handle-the-truth: how responses to science are shaped by concerns about its impact Robbie M. Sutton, Aino Petterson, and Bastiaan T. Rutjens


    Bastiaan T. Rutjens is an Assistant Professor in the Social Psychology Program of the Psychology Department at the University of Amsterdam. His research interests are in social and cultural psychology, with a particular focus on the psychological functionings of religious and secular belief systems and worldviews.

    Mark J. Brandt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University. He aims to understand ideological and moral beliefs – such as political ideology, religious fundamentalism, and moral conviction – and how they structure attitudes and behaviors, how they provide people with meaning, and why people adopt them in the first place.