YANSS 211 – How the psychology that leads people into QAnon can help us understand not only what leads people into a conspiracy community, but which community and why

Transcript – Download – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – SoundcloudOmnySpotify

When we talk about conspiracy theories we tend to focus on what people believe instead of why, and, more importantly, why they believe those things and not other things. In this episode, we sit down with two psychologists working to change that, and in addition, change the term itself from conspiracy theory to conspiracy narrative, which more accurately describes what makes any one conspiracy appealing enough to form a community around it and in rare cases result in collective action.

Joseph Uscinski is an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami. He studies public opinion and mass media, with a focus on conspiracy theories and related misinformation. His recent article for The Guardian argues that QAnon is not growing, nor is is a right-wing conspiracy theory. He is the coauthor of American Conspiracy Theories and editor of Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them.

Twitter: @joeuscinski

Anni Sternisko is a doctoral candidate at New York University studying conspiracy theory beliefs, social identity and moral judgment. Her recent paper titled: The dark side of social movements: Social identity, non-conformity, and the lure of conspiracy theories, opens with, “Research has linked conspiracy theory beliefs to anti-democratic attitudes, prejudice and non-normative political behavior. We propose a framework to understand the motivational processes behind conspiracy theories and associated social identities and collective action.”

Twitter: @annisternisko

Links and Sources

Transcript – Download – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – SoundcloudOmnySpotify

Who Supports QAnon? A Case Study in Political Extremism

QAnon is not growing 

QAnon and sex trafficking beliefs 

The dark side of social movements: Social identity, non-conformity, and the lure of conspiracy theories

QAnon: a timeline of violence linked to the conspiracy theory

‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theorist gets four years in prison

I’m a Parkland Shooting Survivor. QAnon Convinced My Dad It Was All a Hoax.

CSIS Threat Assessment of QAnon

Frontline: The United States of Conspiracy

Q: Into the Storm

Man pleads guilty to terrorism after Hoover Dam barricade

The Atlantic: The Prophecies of Q

The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe

The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

Joseph Uscinski’s Website

Behind The Curve Website

The Study of Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Theories Can’t Be Stopped

Meta-Analysis of Psychological Research on Conspiracy Beliefs

American Conspiracy Theories

YANSS Episode on Conspiratorial Thinking

Wikipedia’s Giant List of Conspiracies