Author Archives: Rob Brotherton

About Rob Brotherton

Rob is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, and assistant editor of The Skeptic [www.skeptic.org.uk]. Follow Rob on Twitter: @rob_brotherton

Are You Serious?

I’ve posted here before about why measuring belief in conspiracy theories can be tricky. Recently I was invited to visit University of Cambridge’s Conspiracy and Democracy project and the issue of measuring belief came up again, particularly the question of … Continue reading

Posted in Events, Personality | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Intention Seekers: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories About MS804

I wrote a post over at Psychology Today on the psychology behind conspiracy theories about airline disasters like the disappearance of MH370, and more recently, MS804. Part of the appeal, according to a handful of recent studies, may be how … Continue reading

Posted in Biases & heuristics, Intentionality bias, World events | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

On “crazy” conspiracy theories

I wrote an op ed, published today on LATimes.com, on the topic of dismissing conspiracy theories (and theorists) as “crazy.” Pithy insults like crazy, delusional, irrational, wacky have become a common refrain, at least among click-baiting headline-writers and over-zealous pundits. But, as I … Continue reading

Posted in Biases & heuristics, Pop culture, Proportionality bias, Suspicious Minds | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

How the Illuminati conquered hip hop (allegedly)

I wrote an article for The Daily Beast exploring the origins of the rumors that Jay Z, Kanye West, and many of their colleagues are pawns of the Illuminati. Here’s an excerpt… “Illuminati want my mind, soul, and my body … Continue reading

Posted in Pop culture | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories

My book, Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories, is out now! You can buy it now from all the usual places, in hardback and for Kindle and other e-readers. (Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk / Barnes & Noble / Waterstones)

Posted in Suspicious Minds | Tagged , , , | 34 Comments

Vice Motherboard article on conspiracy psychology

A recent article by journalist Molly Osberg gives an excellent overview of the psychology of conspiracy theories, including a few quotes from me, among other researchers. “There’s not that much of a difference, really, between conspiracy theorists and the rest … Continue reading

Posted in Biases & heuristics, Suspicious Minds | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Bored to Fears

Do you get bored easily? Does time fly by for you, or does it always seem to drag? Is it easy for you to concentrate on activities, or do you often find your mind wandering? Is looking at a friend’s … Continue reading

Posted in Personality | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Why tidying your desk might make conspiracy theories seem less plausible

A recent study by psychologists at the University of Amsterdam looked at the consequences of feeling ambivalent, with interesting implications for belief in conspiracy theories. We experience ambivalence when we feel both good and bad about something at the same … Continue reading

Posted in Biases & heuristics | Tagged , , , | 144 Comments

What do you think happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370?

[Edit: The survey is now closed. Thanks to everyone who took part. You can read an article I wrote for New Scientist about this research by clicking here.] We are conducting a survey of people’s opinions about what happened to … Continue reading

Posted in World events | Tagged , , , | 54 Comments

The President is Dead: Why Conspiracy Theories About the Death of JFK Endure

November 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Over the years, numerous investigations have amassed evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin, and failed to find compelling proof that anyone else was involved. … Continue reading

Posted in Biases & heuristics, Proportionality bias, World events | Tagged , , , , | 72 Comments