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Dr Daniel Jolley

Senior Lecturer

Department: Psychology

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

He is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and has recently joined the academic team at Northumbria University as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology. Before this position, Daniel has held academic posts at Staffordshire University as a Lecturer in Psychology (2015 - 2017), followed by a promotion to Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology in 2017. Before his lectureship, Daniel was employed as a Research Associate at Lancaster University (2014 - 2015), working alongside Prof. Paul Taylor and partners in industry.   

Daniel was awarded his social psychology Ph.D from the University of Kent in 2015. His PhD aimed to examine and attempt to address the social psychological consequences of conspiracy theories, under the supervision of Prof. Karen Douglas.  His current research is continuing to explore the consequences of conspiracy theories, whilst testing tools to address their potentially harmful impact. 

Daniel serves on two national committees: the BPS Social Psychology Section as the Hon. Secretary and the BPS Research Board as the Early Career Representative.  He is also an active member of an interdisciplinary COST network, Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories.

Daniel has a passion for science communication, where he is often invited to give talks to stakeholders (e.g., Police Communicators at their Annual Conference) and the general public (e.g., Cheltenham Science Festival), and due to the timely and newsworthy nature of his research, he is regularly invited to speak to a variety of media outlets for both print and digital media – for example, in 2018 he appeared on the popular U.S TV show Adam Ruins Everything; in 2019 his research has been featured in the Guardian, the Independent and Sky News, and he has given several radio interviews, such as on BBC Five Live, TalkRADIO and BBC Scotland.

Want to learn more about the psychology of conspiracy theories?

Daniel blogs at and also gives public talks, alongside appearing on radio, podcasts and TV.  You can watch some clips under the "Research" tab on his website (  You can also follow Daniel's updates on Twitter via

Daniel Jolley


  • Psychology PhD July 16 2015
  • Psychology MSc July 16 2011
  • Psychology BSc (Hons) July 16 2010
  • Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) FHEA

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Belief in conspiracy theories and intentions to engage in everyday crime, Jolley, D., Douglas, K., Leite, A., Schrader, T. 1 Jul 2019, In: British Journal of Social Psychology
  • Exposure to intergroup conspiracy theories promotes prejudice which spreads across groups, Jolley, D., Meleady, R., Douglas, K. 13 Mar 2019, In: British Journal of Psychology
  • Blaming a Few Bad Apples to Save a Threatened Barrel, Jolley, D., Douglas, K., Sutton, R. 1 Apr 2018, In: Political Psychology
  • Prevention is better than cure, Jolley, D., Douglas, K. 1 Aug 2017, In: Journal of Applied Social Psychology
  • The Effects of Anti-Vaccine Conspiracy Theories on Vaccination Intentions, Jolley, D., Douglas, K. 20 Feb 2014, In: PLoS One
  • The social consequences of conspiracism, Jolley, D., Douglas, K. 1 Feb 2014, In: British Journal of Psychology

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

In my research, I take a unique experimental approach to studying the social psychological consequences of conspiracy theories.

Millions of people from across the globe believe in conspiracy theories that explain events as the result of secret, deliberate actions and cover-ups at the hands of powerful and malevolent groups. In the UK, a YouGov Poll has recently shown that 60% of Britons believe in conspiracy theories. My research to date demonstrates that exposure to conspiracy theories may be an important source of disengagement with politics and a lack of concern about the environment (BJP, 2014, IF 2.507), and a potential obstacle to child vaccination uptake (PLoSONE, 2014, IF 2.766). I have also demonstrated that conspiracy theories may divert attention from inherent limitations of social systems which may reduce, rather than increase, the likelihood of social and political change (Political Psychology, 2018, IF 2.782). I have sought to test social psychological techniques to attenuate the impact of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and found that once a conspiracy theory has taken root, it can be resistant to correction (JASP, 2017, IF 1.439). These publications have already been cited over 488 times (Google Scholar, Sept ‘19).

My research continues to explore important issues, such as examining the causal link between conspiracy theories, prejudice, and discrimination (BJP, in press, IF 2.507), and whether the belief that powerful others have conspired may make people more inclined towards unethical actions (BJSP,in press, IF 1.775). The former paper, for example, has demonstrated for the first time that intergroup conspiracy can directly increase prejudice and discrimination. Perhaps most importantly, we also demonstrate how the prejudice-enhancing effects of intergroup conspiracy theories are not limited to the group targeted by the conspiracy but can spread to other, uninvolved groups. These issues are therefore not just highly topical, but of great significance for society.

Want to learn more about the psychology of conspiracy theories?

Daniel blogs at and also gives public talks, alongside appearing on radio, podcasts and TV.  You can watch some clips under the "Research" tab on his website (  You can also follow Daniel's updates on Twitter via


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