Project «The role of irrational beliefs on perception, cognition, and media use»

Many people hold beliefs about subjects which are difficult or impossible to explain with established knowledge or scientific methods, such as paranormal phenomena (telepathy) or believe in conspiracy theories (e.g. that powerful secret groups exist who control or influence political and economical decisions). Such beliefs can lead to maladaptive behaviour. For example, we showed that conspiracy beliefs are a strong predictor for the violation of COVID-19 preventive measures. This project focuses on the association of such irrational beliefs with perceptual, cognitive and personality aspects in the context of (social) media usage (e.g. falling for and distributing fake news or misinformation). In an ongoing study, we investigate whether seeing illusory patterns in noise is an underlying mechanism of irrational beliefs affecting perception, cognition and decision making. This is a four-years project that constitutes the PhD thesis of Petra Müller.  


01.09.2021 – ongoing


Petra Müller


Hartmann, M. & Mueller, P. (2021): Acceptance and adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures are shaped predominantly by conspiracy beliefs, mistrust in science and fear - A comparison of more than 20 psychological variables. Advance.  

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