Exeter Phoenix, Gandy St, Exeter EX4 3LS

Once they were a fringe interest, now conspiracy theories seem to hit the headlines every year – from QAnon to Flat Earthers. Why are they more popular and is this dangerous?

This event runs the gauntlet through the scary world of conspiracy theories – their psychology, history, and philosophy. Find out the best ways to talk to believers and what conspiracies tell us about society today and ultimately ourselves.

We’re delighted to welcome world-leading thinkers on the topic.

Come along to make questions and comments and join the conversation – or just sit and listen!

This event is part of Futures 2023


Dr Daniel Jolley

Assistant Professor in Social Psychology
School of Psychology
University of Nottingham

Dr Daniel Jolley is a social psychologist who takes a unique experimental approach to study the social psychological consequences of conspiracy theories.

He is an Assistant Professor in Social Psychology at the University of Nottingham (UoN), where he joined the School of Psychology in February 2022. Before joining UoN, Daniel held academic posts at Northumbria University (Senior Lecturer, 2019 – 2022) and Staffordshire University (Lecturer in Psychology, 2015 – 2017; Senior Lecturer, 2017 – 2019). Before his lectureships, Daniel was employed as a Research Associate at Lancaster University (2014 – 2015), working alongside Prof. Paul Taylor and partners in industry.

Karen Douglas

Professor of Social Psychology
School of Psychology
University of Kent

Karen Douglas is a Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Kent. Karen studies the psychology of conspiracy theories. Her research examines why conspiracy theories appeal to so many people, and the consequences of conspiracy theories for individuals, groups, and society.

Karen’s findings have been published and discussed internationally by The Observer, CNN, The Huffington Post, and The Conversation. She is currently the director of the ERC-funded project “CONSPIRACY_FX – Consequences of conspiracy theories“.



Jason Reifler

Professor of Political Science
University of Exeter

Jason studies political behaviour, with most of his time devoted to studying public opinion about foreign policy, correcting factual misperceptions held by citizens, and voting behaviour.

Jason received a BA from Colby College and a PhD from Duke University. Prior to grad school, he spent four years in Washington, DC working for the polling firm Bennett, Petts, and Blumenthal.

Rebecca Kesby


Rebecca Kesby is a freelance journalist, broadcaster and live host. She joined the BBC’s local radio in 1996 and has been at the BBC World Service since 2000.

Evidence based, accurate, fair and responsible journalism are front and centre in Rebecca’s work. She likes digging into the detail, challenging the discourse, rigour, context and substance. She has reported from Africa, China and the US. She is also an audio and visual filmmaker.