Rob Brotherton and Lisa Son - side by side headshots
From left, Robert Brotherton and Lisa Son

In March 2021, psychology professors Robert Brotherton and Lisa Son published an article titled "Metacognitive Labeling of Contentious Claims: Facts, Opinions, and Conspiracy Theories" in the journal Frontiers of Psychology. The article provides two studies on how humans organize claims into different categories, such as an opinion or a fact, concluding that people are more likely to label ideas as factual if the individual subjectively agrees with the claim. Using this metacognitive approach focused on how claims are processed by individuals sheds new light on the psychology behind why people believe conspiracy theories.