The individual-level and nation-level predictors of willingness to believe conspiracy theories
Prof. Matthew Hornsey (University of Queensland)
In this talk I first review the cognitive, clinical, and ideological factors that predispose individuals to believe conspiracy theories. Drawing on a series of multinational datasets, I then examine why some nations are more prone to conspiracist thinking than others, and the economic, political, and cultural factors that help explain those patterns. I argue that shifting between individual-level and nation-level explanations requires an empathic shift as much as an epistemic shift. When scholars have focused on the individual level, the tone is somewhat pejorative: they have ‘dark’ personalities, are prone to clinical disorders, demonstrate illogical ways of thinking, and have unmet psychological needs and selfish orientations. But analysis at the nation level suggests a more compassionate orientation: communities sometimes learn to mistrust elites because those elites cannot be trusted, and people are doing their best in difficult circumstances to make sense of ambiguous events.
Le séminaire aura lieu dans la salle de réunion du CeSCuP ainsi qu’en ligne, via ce lien.