Dickinson College to Host Lecture on Conspiracy Theory Beliefs

Portrait of Joanne Miller in front of a bookcase.

Joanne Miller

The Bruce R. Andrews Lecture

Political psychologist Joanne Miller will explore the roots of conspiracy theory beliefs during her lecture, “Why People Believe Conspiracy Theories,” on Monday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium.

Miller will discuss her research on the origins of conspiracy theory beliefs, including the motivating forces of self-concept preservation, uncertainty and powerlessness. She argues that perceiving oneself to be on the losing side of politics can create conditions that make people more susceptible to believing conspiracy theories.

Miller is associate professor of political science and associate professor of psychology and brain sciences at the University of Delaware. Her research, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, centers on the psychological underpinnings of political attitudes and mass behavior. She is the recipient of three best paper awards from the American Political Science Association. Miller’s articles have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Psychology and Public Opinion Quarterly. Her most recent research, on the antecedents of conspiracy beliefs, has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR and other leading news outlets.

This lecture is a part of the Bruce R. Andrews lecture series, which commemorates its namesake, a beloved and influential professor of political science at Dickinson who passed away in 2008. The Bruce R. Andrews Fund continues political debate and discussion in his memory.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, the Bruce R. Andrews Fund and the Churchill Fund.

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Published January 25, 2019