We’re all conspiracy theorists. Some of us just hide it better than others.
In Suspicious Minds, Rob Brotherton decodes the psychology, 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 un-provable 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.
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.
The fascinating and often surprising psychology of conspiracy theories tells us a lotnot 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 aberrationthey'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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About the Author
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.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Down the Rabbit Hole
Chapter 1. The Age of Conspiracy
Chapter 2. What's the Harm?
Chapter 3. What is a Conspiracy Theory?
Chapter 4. Conspiracy Minded
Chapter 5. The Paranoid Fringe
Chapter 6. I Want to Believe
Chapter 7. (Official) Stories
Chapter 8. Connect the Dots
Chapter 9. Intention Seekers
Chapter 10. Proportion Distortion
Chapter 11. I Knew It
Epilogue. Only Human