Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories

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Bloomsbury Publishing, Nov 19, 2015 - Psychology - 288 pages
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'A first class book' Sunday Times

We're all conspiracy theorists. Some of us just hide it better than others.


Conspiracy theorists do not wear tin-foil hats (for the most part). They are not just a few kooks lurking on the paranoid fringes of society with bizarre ideas about shape-shifting reptilian aliens running society in secret. They walk among us. They are us.

Everyone loves a good conspiracy. Yet conspiracy theories are not a recent invention. And they are not always a harmless curiosity. In Suspicious Minds, Rob Brotherton explores the history and consequences of conspiracism, and delves into the research that offers insights into why so many of us are drawn to implausible, unproven and unproveable conspiracy theories. They resonate with some of our brain's built-in quirks and foibles, and tap into some of our deepest desires, fears, and assumptions about the world.

The fascinating and often surprising psychology of conspiracy theories tells us a lot – not just why we are drawn to theories about sinister schemes, but about how our minds are wired and, indeed, why we believe anything at all. Conspiracy theories are not some psychological aberration – they're a predictable product of how brains work. This book will tell you why, and what it means.

Of course, just because your brain's biased doesn't always mean you're wrong. Sometimes conspiracies are real. Sometimes, paranoia is prudent.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dickmanikowski - LibraryThing

While a radio interview with the author was interesting, I gave up on the book a quarter of a way into it. The author offers some interesting insights into the how and why of conspiracy theories (and ... Read full review

Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Observing that conspiracy theories can be fluid in nature (“One person’s conspiracy theory is the next person’s conspiracy fact”), Brotherton, a former lecturer in psychology at Goldsmiths, University ... Read full review

Contents

Down the Rabbit Hole
The Age of Conspiracy
Whats the Harm?
What Is a Conspiracy Theory?
Conspiracy Minded
The Paranoid Fringe
I Want to Believe
Official Stories
Intention Seekers
Proportion Distortion
I Knew
Only Human
References and Notes Permissions
Acknowledgments
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Rob Brotherton is an academic psychologist and science writer who likes to walk on the weird side of psychology. Rob completed a doctoral degree on the psychology of conspiracy theories, and taught classes on why people believe weird stuff and science communication as a member of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He now lives in New York City.

Rob writes about conspiracy theories on his website ConspiracyPsychology.com.

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