25 percent of all psychological papers on the topic of conspiracy theories were published in 2020. The fact that the topic is currently shaping research so strongly is due to its social relevance: As a result of the Corona pandemic and the presidency of Donald Trump, conspiracy narratives have become part of wide areas of social discourse.
"For us, the boom in this research field means that we urgently need to exchange ideas about research on this explosive topic," says Prof. Dr. Kai Sassenberg, head of the Social Processes lab. No sooner said than done: On November 18 and 19, his lab, in cooperation with Matthew Hornsey from the University of Queensland, hosted the international online conference “Social implications of conspiracy theories” - a so-called Small Group Meeting - supported by the European Association of Social Psychology.
However, there is no question of "small": A total of 30 contributions from scientists from Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the USA, Great Britain, Australia, Israel, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, France, Norway and Greece were selected from more than 50 submissions. With about 80 participants the conference was a huge success. "The international exchange with our colleagues was exciting. We had the chance to learn what approaches and results they have found on the emergence, dissemination, but of course also on the prevention and containment of conspiracy theories," say Lotte Pummerer and Dr. Kevin Winter from the organizing committee.