Author Archives: Mike Wood

What suspicion tells us about beliefs in conspiracy theories

Have a look at the statements below, and think about how much you agree with each of them on a 1-5 scale (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). The real truth about 9/11 is being kept from the public. … Continue reading

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The psychology of gang stalking, and the difference between conspiracy theory and delusion

If you’ve spent enough time on the Internet (or read the New York Times yesterday), you might have come across the phenomenon of gang stalking – the alleged stalking of particular individuals by organized groups. It might seem like gang … Continue reading

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The great Columbia conspiracy: Why Trump and others seem to contradict themselves on Obama’s past

So, I suppose we should talk about Donald Trump at some point. Trump might just be the most famous conspiracy-monger in the world at the moment. He’s flirted with, if not outright endorsed, a wide variety of conspiracy theories, ranging … Continue reading

Posted in Social psychology, World events | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The conspiracy theory label: Not as powerful as you might think

Calling something a conspiracy theory is basically an intellectual scarlet letter. It’s a way of dismissing something you don’t like, of placing something outside the bounds of reasonable discourse. “That’s just a conspiracy theory” is a depressingly effective way of … Continue reading

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5 reasons why “predictive programming” is psychologically implausible

If you think that popular culture – movies, TV, and music – have been kind of samey lately, you’re not alone. Peter Suderman at Slate has proposed that most summer blockbusters follow the same basic formula laid out in a … Continue reading

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The Wood & Douglas (2013) commission report: Whitewash or coverup?

As I write this the fuss about our Frontiers article, “What about Building 7?” A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories, has mostly died down, so now seems like a good time to do a bit of … Continue reading

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Setting the record straight on Wood & Douglas, 2013

Our recently published Frontiers study on online communication, “What about Building 7?” A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories, has been the subject of some chatter on the Internet – but not quite in the way I had … Continue reading

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What does online discussion tell us about the psychology of conspiracy theories?

This study has recently been linked to as a demonstration that people who believe 9/11 conspiracy theories are “more sane” than people who don’t. The study has no bearing on mental health, and this claim about “sanity” relies on wishful … Continue reading

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A trip to the Bilderberg Fringe Festival

Last weekend Rob and I went to the Bilderberg Fringe Festival, a sort of combined protest / music festival organised around the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Group. The Bilderbergers have been the subjects of many conspiracy theories, often involving … Continue reading

Posted in Events, Uncategorized, World events | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Authoritarianism and conspiracy theories – what’s the connection? Is there one?

Although I don’t do it as much as I used to, I still enjoy arguing about conspiracy theories with people on the Internet. As I’m generally pretty skeptical of conspiracy explanations, I usually find myself defending whatever the conventional explanation … Continue reading

Posted in Personality, Social psychology | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments