The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories in the World of Social Media

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Abstract: Conspiracy theories – the belief that events, situations, or outcomes are the result of a secretive, often malicious, plot by a group of people, organizations, or entities – have always been an important feature of social life. In recent years, their popularity has significantly increased, particularly on social media with the rise of fake news and disinformation.

While some of these theories are harmless, they can contribute to spreading misinformation, eroding trust in institutions, and even inciting irrational fear or paranoia, making them an important challenge in many societies today.

In the past decade, social psychology provided valuable insights into the causes and effects of conspiracy thinking. In this talk, I discuss how conspiracy theories have important consequences for social life, such as decreasing engagement with politics and influencing people’s health and environmental decisions. I will particularly focus on the role of conspiracy beliefs in predicting people’s behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., trust in institutions, trust in science, and vaccine scepticism). Finally, I will discuss some of the limitations of research in this field and propose some potential avenues for future research

Keywords: conspiracy theories, political trust, science mistrust, misinformation
Period21 Oct 2023
Event title10th International Conference on Applied Psychology and Educational Sciences 2023
Event typeConference
LocationIasi, RomaniaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • conspiracy theories
  • Misinformation
  • Political trust
  • Science trust