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Date of this Version


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Lewandowsky, S., & Cook, J. (2020). The Conspiracy Theory Handbook

Also available and translated into several languages at and


Copyright 2020, Lewandowsky and Cook. Used by permission.


Conspiracy theories attempt to explain events as the secretive plots of powerful people. While conspiracy theories are not typically supported by evidence, this doesn’t stop them from blossoming. Conspiracy theories damage society in a number of ways. To help minimize these harmful effects, The Conspiracy Theory Handbook, by Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook, explains why conspiracy theories are so popular, how to identify the traits of conspiratorial thinking, and what are effective response strategies.

The Handbook distills the most important research findings and expert advice on dealing with conspiracy theories. It also introduces the abbreviation CONSPIR which serves as a mnemonic to more easily remember these seven traits of conspiratorial thinking:

  • Contradictory
  • Overriding suspicion
  • Nefarious intent
  • Something must be wrong
  • Persecuted Victim
  • Immune to Evidence
  • Re-interpreting Randomness

Originally in English and translated into French, German, Hungarian, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Russian, Serbian, Turkish, Czech, Croatian, Polish, Swedish, Romanian, and Slovak.