General information

Module title Psychology Of Conspiracy Theories
Language English
Module lecturer dr Michał Kosakowski
Lecturer's email lkacz@amu.edu.pl
Lecturer position adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Semester 2021/2022 (winter)
Duration 30
ECTS 5
USOS code PCT

Timetable

Module aim (aims)

Conspiracy theories are explanatory beliefs about a group of actors that work in secret to reach malevolent goals. Recent events have shown their considerable impact on public health, safety, and social relations. This course aims:
• to introduce students to core concepts of psychology of conspiracy theories. The course is a concise overview of the known mechanisms of conspiracy belief formation and research findings on the psychological determinants of belief in conspiracy theories;
• to teach students how the knowledge of these mechanisms might be used to understand a broader range of counterfactual beliefs;
• to support students' development of their reflection on the psychological consequences of conspiracy theories and the role of psychological practitioners in addressing them.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

English language comprehension required for understanding scientific texts

Syllabus

Week 1: Basic Principles of the psychology of conspiracy theories

Week 2: Definitions, types, and popularity of conspiracy theories

Week 3: Emotional and motivational underpinnings of conspiracy theories

Week 4: Individual differences in belief in conspiracy theories

Week 5: Situational factors in conspiratorial thinking

Week 6: Emotional and motivational underpinnings of conspiracy theories

Week 7: Conspiracy theories in intergroup relations

Week 8: Conspiracy theories and political ideology

Week 9: Social factors in conspiratorial thinking

Week 10: Conspiracy theories as explanatory structures

Week 11: Conspiracy theories as a monological belief systems

Week 12: Psychological consequences of conspiracy theories

Week 13: Social media and the spread of conspiracy theories

Week 14: Countering the conspiracy theories

Week 15: Current directions in the psychology of conspiracy theories

Reading list

Bangerter, A., Wagner-Egger, P. & Delouvée, S. (2020). How conspiracy theories spread. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 206-218). Routledge.
Biddlestone, M., Cichocka, A., Žeželj I. & Bilewicz, M. (2020). Conspiracy theories and intergroup relations. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 181-191). Routledge.
Douglas, K. M., Cichocka A., & Sutton, R. M. (2020). Motivations, emotions and belief in conspiracy theories. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 181-191). Routledge.
Imhoff, R, Lamberty, P. (2020). Conspiracy beliefs as psycho-political reactions to perceived power. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 192-205). Routledge.
Jolley, D., Mari, S. & Douglas, K. M. (2020). Consequences of conspiracy theories. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 231-241). Routledge.
Klein, O. & Nera, K. (2020). Social psychology of conspiracy theories. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 121-134). Routledge.
Krekó, P. (2020). Countering conspiracy theories and misinformation. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 242-255). Routledge.
Lantian, A., Wood. M & Gjoneska, B. (2020). Personality traits, cognitive styles and worldviews associated with beliefs in conspiracy theories. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 155-167). Routledge.
van Proojien, J. W. (2018). Psychology of Conspiracy Theories. Routledge (pp. 1-17).
van Proojien, J. W. (2020). Social-cognitive processes underlying belief in conspiracy theories. In M. Butter, P. Knight (Eds.), Routledge handbook of conspiracy theories (pp. 168-180). Routledge.