The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
What you'll learn
- The psychological drives behind belief in conspiracy theories
- How evolution can potentially explain conspiracy theory beliefs
- What the latest psychological research reveals about those who believe in conspiracy theories
- About the psychological processes involved in conspiracy ideation
- How to reduce belief in conspiracy theories
- The course is pitched at an undergraduate level
Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?
What kind of people are most likely to believe in them?
Is it possible to change or reduce conspiracy theory beliefs? If so, how?
This course answers these questions by providing a comprehensive overview of the current, peer-reviewed, scientific research in the psychology of conspiracy theories and those who believe in them.
Perhaps you know or have met someone with intractable beliefs in a conspiracy? Perhaps you have tried and failed to change their views and wish to understand why such beliefs are so intractable and difficult to change? Or perhaps you, yourself, believe in a conspiracy theory and wish to understand the psychology behind that belief? If so, this course is for you!
Topics explored in the course include:
Conceptual and epistemological difficulties around the terms 'conspiracy theory' and 'conspiracy theorist'
Approaches to research and the measurement of conspiracy belief
The prevalence of conspiracy theory beliefs
The drives and motives behind conspiracy theory belief
Personality and socio-political correlates with conspiracy theory belief
Explanations for conspiracy theory thinking based on evolutionary psychology
Psychological processes underpinning conspiracy theory belief
The consequences of conspiracy theory beliefs: both for individuals and society
Evidence-based approaches to changing and reducing conspiracy theory belief
The course is pitched at an undergraduate level and should be of interest both to those who study or research psychology (or related disciplines) in a formal academic setting as well as those with a lay interest.
This course aims to be unbiased, objective and fair: acknowledging that whilst conspiracy theory thinking sometimes poses risks to public health and environmental protection, real conspiracies have occurred in the past and that conspiracy theory ideation may be beneficial in some contexts and may have an adaptive function in evolutionary terms.
Each video-learning session includes an array of additional external resources to deepen your learning by referring to a range of academic specialists: by the end of this course you will be an expert in the psychology of conspiracy theories.
Who this course is for:
- People who know a conspiracy theorist and wish to understand them better
- Psychology Students
- Psychology Researchers
- People hoping to explore their own beliefs in conspiracy theories
Adam Godwin (MA) is from Oxford in The United Kingdom
Adam has studied philosophy and psychology for over fifteen years and his academic focus has been phenomenology, metaphysics, ontology, existentialism and clinical psychology. His overarching specialism is comparative clinical psychology and the history of psychotherapy.
Moreover, he is a specialist in the study of comparative mystical traditions with extensive personal experience with Zazen (Soto Zen Buddhist meditation), mindfulness meditation, and ecstatic dance. This passion for the study of mystical traditions is also rooted in an enduring love for mystical poetry from the Christian, Taoist, Buddhist & Sufi traditions.
BA - Psychology & Philosophy (The University of Reading, UK)
MA - Philosophy (The University of Reading, UK)
CPPD - Clinical Hypnosis (The London College of Clinical Hypnosis)
PGCE - Secondary Education - Philosophy & Religious Studies (Liverpool Hope University)
Forensic Mental Health Support Worker (2 Years)
[Mainly working with those diagnosed with schizophrenia and 'personality disorders']
Supported Housing Support Worker (2 Years)
[Working with homeless people suffering from drug and alcohol addictions]
Academic Support & Social Mentor (2 Years)
[Supporting undergraduate and postgraduate university students in need of assistance with their learning]
Secondary School Teacher (4 Years)
[Teaching Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology & Religious Studies in a British state secondary school (12-18 year-olds)]
Digital Educational Resource Design (7 Years)
[Eventually founding The Global Metacognition Institute]
Other Relevant Experiences:
"I have spent 6 months training in mindfulness-based meditation techniques in a Soto Zen Buddhist Monastery in the UK
I also frequently attend conferences and healing festivals in order to learn about a wide variety of approaches to alternative healing and therapy
I have a longstanding passion for philosophy and psychology and my overarching aim is to share that passion with people around the world via professionally-designed online courses."