School of Psychology

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Daniel Jolley

Assistant Professor in Social Psychology, Faculty of Science



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

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

I was awarded his social psychology PhD from the University of Kent in 2015. My PhD aimed to examine and attempt to address the social-psychological consequences of conspiracy theories. Since then, I have gained international recognition as an expert in the field of conspiracy theory psychology. My ongoing research continues to employ experimental methodologies to scrutinize the societal repercussions of conspiracy theories while also developing tools to mitigate their adverse effects. I have a strong publication record of high-quality publications (>20 publications, >3,600 citations) and have received research funding from organizations such as the British Academy (>90k in total funding). I have also been awarded funding for several public engagement initiatives (>10k in total funding), such as part of ESRC's Festival of Social Sciences. In 2023, I was shortlisted as a Rising Star in Public Engagement by the University of Nottingham's Institute for Policy and Engagement.

I am a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and a Fellow of HEA (FHEA). I am an active member of the BPS, where I served for ten years on the BPS Social Psychology Section in various roles. I have also been an active member of an interdisciplinary COST network, Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories. Broadly, I am active in community service. I have acted as a peer reviewer at over 70 journals and am currently an Associate Editor at the Journal of Applied Social Psychology (JASP) and the British Journal of Social Psychology (BJSP). I am an experienced mentor of undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers. Upholding academic quality, I am currently an Examiner Examiner for the MSc in Social and Applied Psychology at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Also, I have experience of being an External and Internal PhD examiner.

I have a passion for science communication, where I am 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 my research, I am regularly invited to speak to a variety of media outlets including TV, radio and print/digital media - for example, I have appeared on the popular U.S TV show Adam Ruins Everything, and recently my research has been featured on BBC One Show, BBC News, Sky News, TalkTV, City News (Toronto), CGTN (Europe), in New York Times, The Guardian, Financial Times, Huffington Post and Discover Magazine. I have given multiple live radio interviews, including appearing on BBC Five Live, TalkRADIO, BBC Scotland, and over 25 BBC UK Local stations. In 2022-23, my media engagement reached an estimated 1 billion people. I have also given many public talks on my research (e.g., New Scientist Live, Cheltenham Science Festival, Standon Calling; in excess 60 in total) and actively work to use alternative outputs to communicate my research, such as commissioning artists to draw my research (thanks to I'm a Scientist for supporting this). With colleagues, I also developed the Kitchen Conspiracy, an outreach exhibit to introduce conspiracy theories.

You can learn more about my research on my website. You can also follow my updates on Twitter.

Research Summary

My internationally recognised research agenda tackles significant global issues that can harm the smooth running of societies. I take a unique experimental approach to studying the… read more

Selected Publications

  • JOLLEY DANIEL, SEGER CHARLES and MELEADY ROSE, 2023. More than a Prejudice Reduction Effect: Positive Intergroup Contact Reduces Conspiracy Theory Beliefs European Journal of Social Psychology.
  • JOLLEY DANIEL, PATERSON JENNY and THOMAS REBECCA, 2023. Refusing to Pay Taxes: Loneliness, Conspiracy Theorising and Non-Normative Political Action Social Psychology.
  • JOLLEY, DANIEL, MARQUES, MATHEW D and COOKSON, DAREL, 2022. Shining a spotlight on the dangerous consequences of conspiracy theories. Current opinion in psychology. 47, 101363
  • JOLLEY, DANIEL, DOUGLAS, KAREN M., MARCHLEWSKA, MARTA, CICHOCKA, ALEKSANDRA and SUTTON, ROBBIE M., 2022. Examining the links between conspiracy beliefs and the EU "Brexit" referendum vote in the UK: Evidence from a two-wave survey JOURNAL OF APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. 52(1), 30-36

Current Research

My internationally recognised research agenda tackles significant global issues that can harm the smooth running of societies. I take a unique experimental approach to studying the social-psychological consequences of conspiracy theories and misinformation. 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. My research to date demonstrates that conspiracy beliefs can be an important source of disengagement with politics and a lack of concern about the environment (BJP, 2014) and impact medical issues (PLOS ONE, 2014; Sexual Health, 2020). Conspiracy beliefs have been linked with being more willing to support violence (BJSP, 2020) and engage in non-normative unethical activities (BJSP, 2019; Social Psychology, 202). I have also demonstrated that conspiracy theories may divert attention from the inherent limitations of social systems, which may reduce, rather than increase, the likelihood of social and political change (Political Psychology, 2018).

I have sought to test social-psychological techniques to attenuate the impact of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and found that the use of counterarguments could be a successful intervention tool (JASP, 2017) and how intergroup contact (EJSP, 2023) and social norms could also be a powerful tool to reduce conspiracy beliefs (GPIR, 2021; PLOSONE, 2021). To date, my high-quality publications have been cited over 3,600 times (h-index 16, Google Scholar), with the majority being ranked in the top 5% of research outputs tracked by Altimetric for online attention.

We have recently developed and validated a conspiracy beliefs questionnaire suitable for young people called the Adolescent Conspiracy Beliefs Questionnaire (ACBQ). You can find more information on the ACBQ here. The British Academy funded the project.

You can find details on all my publications here or on the Open Science Framework.

School of Psychology

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