Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis?
Verified by Psychology Today
Errors in perceiving, remembering, and thinking.
Ira Hyman Ph.D.
Sometimes a virus spreads as an aerosol through the air. And sometimes a virus spreads through political misinformation. COVID does both.
All the witnesses agree that the police failed to announce themselves before breaking down Breonna Taylor’s door and killing her. Except for one witness. Is his report a false memory?
My mom died this month. Alone. Like thousands of other seniors, Covid isolation contributed to her decline and death.
Misinformation is winning the internet wars. The truth is lost under a tidal wave of false and misleading information.
What comes to mind when you think about COVID-19? Statistics, news stories, political claims? Or do you think about a friend who caught the coronavirus and developed COVID?
Screening tests of cognitive decline are in the news. Let's consider what these tests do and do not measure.
What do you do when someone says or posts something biased? Do you ignore it? Do you talk to them in private? Do you say something in public?
Were you sick sometime in the last several months? Did you have a cold or the flu? Maybe now you’re wondering if you actually had COVID-19.
Are you feeling quarantine fatigue? Are you ready to go back to work, out to dinner, to a movie, or to meet friends for a drink? But should you? Is it safe? How will you decide?
Googling can deliver valuable information. But relying on Google for medical information creates nasty side effects, especially during a pandemic.
"Six degrees of Kevin Bacon" is a game movie fans play. It's based on classic psychology research and important for understanding the need to self-isolate. Who do you stay home for?
The Iowa caucuses have failed. The app failed and the vacuum was filled by disinformation, but I am hopeful we can learn from these failures.
I want to be a good person. I want to recycle. But I worry that I'm not doing it right. I worry other people judge me every time I make a mistake with my trash. I hate recycling.
She has been wandering the halls, searching for her husband. Lost and worried. Where is he? Why did he abandon me here? This is the pain of forgetting.
We all live inside a narrow and biased social media bubble, exposed to biased news and misleading information.
A cute animal picture with a pithy saying can spread like wildfire across social media. Memes are insidious—and findings from psychology may help explain why.
Do you have the baby shark song swimming in your head? Sometimes, an awful piece of music gets stuck in your thoughts. How can you delete it from your mental playback loop?
While campaigning, Joe Biden tells a compelling story of war heroism and of awarding a soldier a medal. Unfortunately, the story appears to be false. But maybe Biden isn’t lying.
Misinformation develops a life of its own, infecting social media. But if misinformation is like a virus infecting social media, are there ways to inoculate ourselves?
Have you ever woken up a strange place that you don’t recognize? Unable to remember how you got there? That moment can help us understand what having Alzheimer’s is like.
I received three phone calls in 30 minutes. On the last two, she didn’t respond when I said I said hello, although I could hear noises. But I wasn’t worried.
I worry about misinformation in the news and social media. We’re all exposed, constantly. Is there any way to protect ourselves from the influence of fake news and misinformation?
As we remember, the kaleidoscope turns, the pieces shift, and a new image emerges. In Alzheimer’s, we see certain features of memory more clearly.
Easily and immediately reaching your romantic partner using your cell phone is wonderful. But cell phones also can disrupt communication. How does this affect your relationship?
I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck. I’ve waited to buy food, worried about rent, and delayed bills. I've worried about money. And that can be a problem.
So many choices. Good choices. Irrational ones. Do you drive to work? Is that rational? Probably. And that’s the problem. Being rational ruins the environment. You need a nudge.
She couldn’t find her sweater anywhere. Naturally, she began to wonder who stole her sweater. Thus began the case of the missing sweater.
I’m interested in Kavanaugh’s calendars from 1982. Many people have looked at Kavanaugh’s calendars, but have not seen the same thing. Are these honest differences in perception?
Memory is constructive. People can even create entirely false memories in response to suggestions and biased beliefs about the past.
Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, has been accused of sexual assault. The alleged assault occurred in high school. How reliable is memory after 35 years?
Ira E. Hyman, Jr., Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Western Washington University.