YANSS 151 – What we can learn about our own beliefs, biases, and motivated reasoning from the community of people who are certain the Earth is flat

In this episode we sit down with the director and producers of the documentary film, Behind the Curve, an exploration of motivated reasoning and conspiratorial thinking told through the lives of people who have formed a community around the belief that the Earth is flat.

Also in this episode, we spend time with political scientist Joseph E. Uscinski who researches conspiracy theories and the people who believe in them.

In the show, you hear from these conversations that, like most conspiracy theorists, Flat Earthers are usually reasonable, intelligent, scientifically curious people. They love their families, they hold down jobs, they pay their bills and so on. In other words, they aren’t crazy or stupid.

So, what leads reasonable, intelligent, scientifically curious people into fringe beliefs such as these? What makes a smart person susceptible to conspiratorial thinking? Why doesn’t counterevidence seem to sway them? You will learn all that and more in the episode.


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Great Courses Plus

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with Your Deceptive Mind taught by neurologist Steven Novella. Learn about how your mind makes sense of the world by lying to itself and others. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

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Links and Sources

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Previous Episodes

Joseph Uscinski’s Website

Behind The Curve Website

Conspiracy Theories Can’t Be Stopped

Meta-Analysis of Psychological Research on Conspiracy Beliefs

American Conspiracy Theories

YANSS Episode on Conspiratorial Thinking

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