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Our Conspiracy-Generating Brains

Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories. By Rob Brotherton. Bloomsbury Sigma, New York, 2015. ISBN 978-1472915610. 304 pp. Softcover, $27.

There has been an explosion of academic interest into conspiracy theories in recent years, marked by a flurry of journal articles (see “The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories” series in Frontiers in Psychology, for instance), doctoral theses, and books. Research into conspiracy theories nonetheless remains relatively niche, meaning that only a handful of scholars are well-positioned to produce a comprehensive book on the topic, drawing from empirical research. Rob Brotherton is one of them. Unlike most books on conspiracy theories, Brotherton’s Suspicious Minds does not go into much detail on conspiracies themselves but instead the thinking behind them—why people believe in them. Critically, he explains clearly up front that we are all conspiracy theorists. With this in mind, the book ought to be of interest to everyone.

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