The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

1st Edition

By Jan-Willem van Prooijen


108 pages

Companion Website
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Paperback: 9781138696105
pub: 2018-03-15
Hardback: 9781138696099
pub: 2018-03-15
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315525419
pub: 2018-04-09
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Who believes in conspiracy theories, and why are some people more susceptible to them than others?

What are the consequences of such beliefs?

Has a conspiracy theory ever turned out to be true?

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories debunks the myth that conspiracy theories are a modern phenomenon, exploring their broad social contexts, from politics to the workplace. The book explains why some people are more susceptible to these beliefs than others and how they are produced by recognizable and predictable psychological processes.

Featuring examples such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and climate change, The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories shows us that while such beliefs are not always irrational and are not a pathological trait, they can be harmful to individuals and society.

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1 –Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

    Chapter 2 – When do People Believe Conspiracy Theories?

    Chapter 3 – The Architecture of Belief

    Chapter 4 – The Social Roots of Conspiracy Theories

    Chapter 5 – Conspiracy Theories and Ideology

    Chapter 6 – Explaining and Reducing Conspiracy Theories

    Further Reading



About the Author

Jan-Willem van Prooijen is an Associate Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at VU Amsterdam, and Senior Researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement.

About the Series

The Psychology of Everything

People are fascinated by psychology, and what makes humans tick. Why do we think and behave the way we do? We’ve all met armchair psychologists claiming to have the answers, and people that ask if psychologists can tell what they’re thinking. The Psychology of Everything is a series of books which debunk the popular myths and pseudo-science surrounding some of life’s biggest questions.

The series explores the hidden psychological factors that drive us, from our subconscious desires and aversions, to our natural social instincts. Absorbing, informative, and always intriguing, each book is written by an expert in the field, examining how research-based knowledge compares with popular wisdom, and showing how psychology can truly enrich our understanding of modern life.

Applying a psychological lens to an array of topics and contemporary concerns - from sex, to fashion, to conspiracy theories - The Psychology of Everything will make you look at everything in a new way.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology