Conspiracy Theories, Magical Thinking & Curiosity, with Eric Oliver

“One of the appeals of conspiracy theories is that is does take the anxiety we feel from uncertainty and it validates it.” ~ Eric Oliver

Curiosity theories abound. How might curiosity contribute to their growth and attractiveness — or/and how might it be an antidote? What happens when genuine curiosity is applied to these theories? Political scientist and University of Chicago professor Eric Oliver joins me to explore what happens when curiosity goes down the rabbit hole.

We spend the first 25 years of our lives learning how to understand the world, and then — if we’re lucky —  we spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn those habits. And that’s if we’re lucky.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #166: Conspiracy Theories, Magical Thinking & Curiosity, with Eric Oliver

For more on University of Chicago professor Eric Oliver’s work and his forthcoming book and podcast, visit his website,

An alert listener pointed me to this interview with Eric Oliver when I put out a call for leads on conspiracy theories. Great conversation on Big Brains podcast.

Good discussion of conspiracy research and theory in USA TODAY, 2017.12.23

Theme music by Sean Balick. “Shadow Plan” by Dorica via Blue Dot Sessions.

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