From 5G coronavirus beliefs to age old antisemitic tropes, it often feels like we are witnessing the rapid spread and dissemination of conspiracy theories online, with very real offline consequences. Putting out these digital wildfires before they take hold is both vital and necessary, especially in our social media dominated and hyper-connected world. Our final episode of this season attempts to do just that. Taking the experiences, thoughts and expertise of those who understand firsthand the dangers of misinformation, we explore how conspiracy theories are created and disseminated. This is a particular point of interest for our two guests today, Daniel Jolley and Eric Oliver. Daniel is a social psychologist at the University of Nottingham who has done extensive research into the social psychological consequences of conspiracy theories. Eric Oliver is a professor at the University of Chicago and host of the podcast, Nine Questions. His research covers a wide array of topics, including the predictors of belief in conspiracy theories. 

Media Minded explores the bizarre world of misinformation and conspiracies. Following on from the success of the first season in 2019, each episode platforms a different subject who has previously been a victim of, or a willing participant in, a conspiracy theory… but these lines may be more blurred than you think. Ex-cultists, anti-vaxxers and more describe their slow descent into the untrue, and those who experience the brunt of the lies and hatred explain the effect that the proliferation of these ideas has. All the while, industry-leading academics and experts provide theoretical justifications for the actions taken by all parties.

Presented by Matteo Bergamini
Edited and recorded by Sabina Mckenzie Brown.

This podcast is made possible thanks to the kind support and sponsorship of the US embassy in London.