Conspiracy theories are everywhere. From theories questioning the moon landings to those warning of vaccine tracking devices, conspiracy theories seem to surround every event and circumstance in our society. Polls show that not only are conspiracy theories believed widely by the public, but they envelope both our politics and our personal lives.

Joseph Uscinski is one of the foremost experts on conspiracy theories and the people who believe them. For more than a decade, he has been polling Americans about their beliefs in conspiracy theories and other dubious ideas. His research has helped to uncover why people believe in conspiracy theories, when, and to what effect.

Uscinski is a professor of Political Science at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, where he leads the CONNECT Team, which seeks to fight the spread of extremist conspiracy theories in online networks. Most recently, he was named a lifetime fellow at the Center for Scientific Inquiry.

He has authored more than 50 published scientific articles and chapters, many of which are highly influential and have appeared in top scientific outlets. He is the author of Conspiracy Theories: A Primer, the first textbook on conspiracy theories, and co-author of American Conspiracy Theories, widely considered the foundational study of modern conspiracy theories. He is currently at work on a book that explains conspiracy theories in the Trump era.

Uscinski’s research and views have been covered extensively in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Newsweek, and Politico. He has appeared as a guest on NPR, CBS, Fox News Channel, BBC, and numerous other national and international outlets. Most recently, he appeared in HBO’s “Q: Into the Storm” documentary about QAnon.

Growing up in New England, he earned his BA at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH, his MA at University of New Hampshire, and his PhD at the University of Arizona.

In this illuminating talk, Uscinski answers the questions: Why do conspiracy theories emerge and why do people believe them? How popular are conspiracy theories and are they on the rise? What role does the internet play in driving conspiracy theorizing? Are conspiracy theories likely to cause violence? Are you a conspiracy theorist?

After detailing the breadth and depth of conspiracy beliefs in the U.S., Uscinski then discusses solutions each of us can do to blunt the harmful effects of conspiracy theories.


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