Robbie M Sutton

Robbie M Sutton
University of Kent | KENT · School of Psychology

PhD

About

147
Publications
194,387
Reads
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5,210
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2005 - present
University of Kent
Position
  • Reader in Psychology
November 2001 - July 2005
Keele University
Position
  • Lecturer
February 2000 - October 2001
Massey University
Position
  • Lecturer

Publications

Publications (147)
Article
Full-text available
Perceptions of warmth play a central role in social cognition. Seven studies employ observational, correlational, and experimental methods to examine its role in concealing the functions of benevolent sexism. Together, Studies 1 (n = 297), 2 (n = 252) and 3 (n = 219) indicated that although women recall experiencing benevolent (vs. hostile) sexism...
Article
Full-text available
Scholarly efforts to understand conspiracy theories have grown significantly in recent years, and there is now a broad and interdisciplinary literature. In reviewing this body of work, we ask three specific questions. First, what factors are associated with conspiracy beliefs? Our review of the literature shows that conspiracy beliefs result from a...
Article
Full-text available
Agreeing to disagree: Reports of the popularity of Covid-19 conspiracy theories are greatly exaggerated - Robbie M. Sutton, Karen M. Douglas
Book
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The second edition of this popular textbook encapsulates the excitement of the fascinating and fast-moving field of social psychology. A comprehensive and lively guide, it covers general principles, classic studies and cutting-edge research. Innovative features such as 'student projects' and 'exploring further' exercises place the student experienc...
Article
Full-text available
Animal minds are of central importance to debates about their rights and welfare. Remaining ignorant of evidence that animals have minds is therefore likely to facilitate their mistreatment. Studying samples of adults and students from the UK and US we found that, consistent with motivational perspectives on meat consumption, those who were more (v...
Article
Polling data indicate that in the USA, Republicans, compared to Democrats, have been less inclined to take preventive measures against coronavirus. In three studies (Ns = 380, 430, and 393), we sought to find evidence for partisan motivations and to illuminate how they translate into attitudes, behavioral intentions and actual behaviors. Results re...
Article
Speciesism, like other forms of prejudice, is thought to be underpinned by biased patterns of language use. Thus far, however, psychological science has primarily focused on how speciesism is reflected in individuals' thoughts as opposed to wider collective systems of meaning such as language. We present a large‐scale quantitative test of speciesis...
Article
Full-text available
The belief in a just world (BJW) is the belief that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get. The theory and research findings suggest that believing the world is fair to “me” (personal BJW or PBJW) is associated with positive psychological functioning, whereas believing that the world is fair to people in general (general BJW or GBJW...
Article
Anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and home confinement has been associated with adverse health behaviors, such as unhealthy eating, smoking, and drinking. However, most studies have been limited by regional sampling, which precludes the examination of behavioral consequences associated with the pandemic at a global level. Further, few s...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the current systematic review and meta-analyses, we aimed to synthesise the relationships between psychological motives and conspiracy beliefs. We focused on epistemic concerns for understanding and knowledge (k = 114, Nobv = 361; Nparticipants = 48,697), existential threats to security (k = 121, Nobv = 414; Nparticipants = 51,517.30), and socia...
Chapter
Full-text available
Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale ... portrays a theocracy that has been installed on the heels of a catastrophic collapse in human fertility.... Women who remain fertile are highly prized. They are also kidnapped, enslaved as ‘Handmaids’, and ritually raped in order to produce offspring for the leaders of the revolution. The re...
Article
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The present paper examines longitudinally how subjective perceptions about COVID-19, one’s community, and the government predict adherence to public health measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Using an international survey ( N = 3040), we test how infection risk perception, trust in the governmental response and communications about COVID-19...
Article
Full-text available
People differ in their general tendency to endorse conspiracy theories (that is, conspiracy mentality). Previous research yielded inconsistent findings on the relationship between conspiracy mentality and political orientation, showing a greater conspiracy mentality either among the political right (a linear relation) or amongst both the left and r...
Article
Full-text available
Despite being a defining issue in the culture war, the political psychology of abortion attitudes remains poorly understood. We address this oversight by reviewing existing literature and integrating new analyses of several large‐scale, cross‐sectional, and longitudinal datasets to identify the demographic and ideological correlates of abortion att...
Article
Full-text available
Before vaccines for COVID-19 became available, a set of infection prevention behaviors constituted the primary means to mitigate the virus spread. Our study aimed to identify important predictors of this set of behaviors. Whereas social and health psychological theories suggest a limited set of predictors, machine learning analyses can identify cor...
Article
Full-text available
Anxiety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and home confinement has been associated with adverse health behaviors, such as unhealthy eating, smoking, and drinking. However, most studies have been limited by regional sampling, which precludes the examination of behavioral consequences associated with the pandemic at a global level. Further, few s...
Article
Understanding the determinants of COVID-19 vaccine uptake is important to inform policy decisions and plan vaccination campaigns. The aims of this research were to: (1) explore the individual- and country-level determinants of intentions to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, and (2) examine worldwide variation in vaccination intentions. This cross-s...
Preprint
Animal minds are of central importance to debates about their rights and welfare. Remaining ignorant of evidence that animals have minds is therefore likely to facilitate their mistreatment. Studying samples of adults and students from the UK and US we found that, consistent with motivational perspectives on meat consumption, those who were more (v...
Article
Using the label “conspiracy theory” is widely perceived to be a way of discrediting wild ideas and unsubstantiated claims. However, prior research suggests that labelling statements as conspiracy theories does not reduce people’s belief in them. In four studies, we probed this effect further, and tested the alternative hypothesis that the label “co...
Article
Full-text available
Tightening social norms is thought to be adaptive for dealing with collective threat yet it may have negative consequences for increasing prejudice. The present research investigated the role of desire for cultural tightness, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, in increasing negative attitudes towards immigrants. We used participant-level data from...
Article
During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. conservative politicians and the media downplayed the risk of both contracting COVID-19 and the effectiveness of recommended health behaviors. Health behavior theories suggest perceived vulnerability to a health threat and perceived effectiveness of recommended health-protective behaviors dete...
Article
During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. conservative politicians and the media downplayed the risk of both contracting COVID-19 and the effectiveness of recommended health behaviors. Health behavior theories suggest perceived vulnerability to a health threat and perceived effectiveness of recommended health-protective behaviors dete...
Article
Recent empirical and theoretical developments suggest that endorsement of conspiracy theories can arise from the frustration of social motives. Taking this further, the current review integrates theorising on processes relating to three selves—the individual, relational, and collective self and outlines their associations with conspiracy beliefs. I...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ideal breeding ground for conspiracy theories. Yet, different beliefs could have different implications for individuals’ emotional responses, which in turn could relate to different behaviours and specifically to either a greater or lesser compliance with social distancing and health protective measures. In the pre...
Article
Full-text available
This research examined the link between conspiracy beliefs and political decisions in the context of the 2016 European Union referendum in the United Kingdom. In a longitudinal study, we surveyed British participants at two-time points (one week before the referendum vs. immediately after the referendum). At both time points, participants (n = 334)...
Article
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People typically extend limited moral standing to animals reared for food. Prominent perspectives in the literature on animal-human relations characterize this phenomenon as an outcome of moral disengagement: in other words, a strategy that protects people from moral self-condemnation. To provide a direct test of this hypothesis, we exposed people...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines whether compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures is motivated by wanting to save lives or save the economy (or both), and which implications this carries to fight the pandemic. National representative samples were collected from 24 countries (N = 25,435). The main predictors were (1) perceived risk to contract coronavirus, (...
Preprint
The Enlightenment idea of historical moral progress asserts that civil societies become more moral over time. We tested this by examining how collective linguistic representations of people, animals, and the environment have changed over the 19th and 20th centuries. Specifically, we applied machine-learning methods (word embeddings) to archives of...
Preprint
Speciesism refers to the different moral standing given to species, and includes human supremacy over animals, and differentiations between animals, where companion animals are given higher moral standing than other species. Although it is clear that speciesism is culturally encoded, psychological science has revealed more about manifestations of s...
Article
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Efforts to understand and remedy the rejection of science are impeded by lack of insight into how it varies in degree and in kind around the world. The current work investigates science skepticism in 24 countries ( N = 5,973). Results show that while some countries stand out as generally high or low in skepticism, predictors of science skepticism a...
Article
Full-text available
Research suggests that belief in conspiracy theories (CT) stems from basic psychological mechanisms and is linked to other belief systems (e.g. religious beliefs). While previous research has extensively examined individual and contextual variables associated with CT beliefs, it has not yet investigated the role of culture. In the current research,...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Coronavirus is highly infectious and potentially deadly. In the absence of a cure or a vaccine, the infection prevention behaviors recommended by the World Health Organization constitute the only measure that is presently available to combat the pandemic. The unprecedented impact of this pandemic calls for swift identification of factors most i...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this work, we study how social contacts and feelings of solidarity shape experiences of loneliness during the COVID-19 lockdown in early 2020. We draw on cross-national data, collected across four time points between mid-March until early May 2020. We situate our work within the public debate on these issues and discuss to what extent the public...
Preprint
Full-text available
According to health behavior theories, perceived vulnerability to a health threat and perceived effectiveness of recommended health-protective behaviors determine motivation to follow these recommendations. Because the U.S. President Trump and U.S. conservative politicians downplayed the risk and seriousness of contracting COVID-19 and the effectiv...
Article
Full-text available
The PsyCorona collaboration is a research project to examine processes involved in the COVID-19 pandemic, such as behavior that curbs virus transmission, which may implicate social norms, cooperation, and self-regulation. The study also examines psychosocial consequences of physical distancing strategies and societal lockdown, such as frustration o...
Article
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Thinking about justice can enhance or impede forgiveness of others. In this study, we show that these effects crucially depend on tendencies to believe in justice. We assessed beliefs about distributive and procedural justice for self and others among university students from the Midwestern United States. We then primed participants to think about...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research suggests that belief in conspiracy theories (CT) stems from basic psychological mechanisms and is linked to other belief systems (e.g. religious beliefs). While previous research has extensively examined individual and contextual variables associated with CT beliefs, it has not yet investigated the role of culture. In the current research,...
Article
Full-text available
Research suggests that animals’ capacity for agency, experience, and benevolence predict beliefs about their moral treatment. Four studies built on this work by examining how fine-grained information about animals’ traits and behaviours (e.g., can store food for later vs. can use tools) shifted moral beliefs about eating and harming animals. The in...
Article
Full-text available
Mapping the Moods of COVID-19: Global Study Uses Data Visualization to Track Psychological Responses, Identify Targets for Intervention
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper examines whether compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures is motivated by wanting to save lives or save the economy (or both), and which implications this carries to fight the pandemic. National representative samples were collected from 24 countries (N=25,435). The main predictors were (i) perceived risk to contract coronavirus, (ii...
Article
Full-text available
We consider the significance of belief in conspiracy theories for political ideologies. Although there is no marked ideological asymmetry in conspiracy belief, research indicates that conspiracy theories may play a powerful role in ideological processes. In particular, they are associated with ideological extremism, distrust of rival ideological ca...
Chapter
Full-text available
Much theorizing in social psychology, economics, and related disciplines has emphasized the role of ideology, self-interest, or other motivational factors in determining how individuals respond to economic inequality. In the present chapter, we outline a complimentary, “bottom-up” approach focusing instead on the role of environmental structure – t...
Article
Increasing economic inequality adversely affects groups with low socioeconomic status (low-SES). However, many people are opposed to wealth redistribution policies. In this context, we examined whether dehumanization of low-SES groups has a role in this opposition. In the first study (N = 303), opposition to wealth redistribution was related to den...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we consider the factors that attract people toward conspiracy theories and also consider whether or not belief in conspiracy theories is a sign of gullibility. We first review the framework of Douglas, Sutton, and Cichocka (2017), which explains that belief in conspiracy theories is driven by epistemic, existential, and social moti...
Article
Full-text available
*** In press---Advances in Political Psychology *** Scholarly efforts to understand conspiracy theories have grown significantly in recent years, and there is now a broad and interdisciplinary literature. In reviewing this body of work, we ask three specific questions. First, what factors are associated with conspiracy beliefs? Our review of the l...
Article
Full-text available
Although conspiracy theories have arguably always been an important feature of social life, they have only attracted the attention of social psychologists in recent years. The last decade, however, has seen an increase in social psychological research on this topic that has yielded many insights into the causes and consequences of conspiracy thinki...
Chapter
Full-text available
Science is valued for its basic and applied functions: producing knowledge and contributing to the common good. Much of the time, these are perceived to work in harmony. However, science is sometimes seen as capable of subverting the common good, by facilitating dangerous technologies (e.g., weapons of mass destruction) or exerting a malign influen...
Article
The expression of personal belief in a just world (PBJW) has been discussed as a criterion of excellence in social judgments. In four experimental studies we hypothesized and found that targets who express high versus low PBJW are judged as more: 1) deserving of success and 2) suited to socio‐organizational expectations. The four studies show that...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research indicates that conspiracy thinking is informed by the psychological imposition of order and meaning on the environment, including the perception of causal relations between random events. Four studies indicate that conspiracy belief is driven by readiness to draw implausible causal connections even when events are not random, but...
Article
Full-text available
Many topics that scientists investigate speak to people's ideological worldviews. We report three studies—including an analysis of large-scale survey data— in which we systematically investigate the ideological antecedents of general faith in science and willingness to support science, as well as of science skepticism of climate change, vaccination...
Data
This is a database of the current academic literature on conspiracy theories, and literature on other closely-related topics. Its production was supported by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (ESRC Award: ES/N009614/1). We intend to keep it up to date and re-post it every three months. If you have any updates that you would l...
Article
Full-text available
As science continues to progress, attitudes towards science seem to become ever more polarized. Whereas some put their faith in science, others routinely reject and dismiss scientific evidence. The current chapter provides an integration of recent research on how people evaluate science. We organize our chapter along three research topics that are...
Article
Full-text available
Feminist scholars have argued that men’s control over women’s reproductive autonomy is a central feature of male dominance. Building on recent research that shows sexist ideology informs support for restricting women’s reproductive autonomy, we examined the relation of sexism and the belief that men should be able to restrict the behavior of women....
Article
We examined the link between political engagement and the tendency to justify the sociopolitical system. On one hand, confidence in the system should be negatively related to political engagement, insofar as it entails reduced desire for social change; on the other hand, system confidence should also be positively related to political engagement to...
Article
The belief in a just world (BJW) affects subjective well-being and social behavior. However, its role in shaping the social goals that underlie behavior has not been investigated. Informed by the bidimensional model of BJW, the present study examined the relations of BJW for the self (BJW-self) versus BJW for other people (BJW-others) with social g...
Poster
Full-text available
Benevolent sexism (BS) is an affectively warm evaluation of women as the more virtuous sex. Research has established that people wrongly assume BS is negatively associated with Hostile Sexism (misogyny), even though research has shown they are positively correlated and comprise a complementary ideological system of social control. The present studi...
Poster
Full-text available
The present studies examine gender roles in heterosexual relationships. According to Sexual Economics Theory (SET: Baumeister & Vohs, 2004), heterosexual relationships are characterised by the principle of sexual exchange, in which men offer material and social resources to women in exchange for sex. This means that men are effectively the buyers o...
Article
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What psychological factors drive the popularity of conspiracy theories that explain important events as secret plots by powerful and malevolent groups? What are the psychological consequences of adopting these theories? We review the current research, and find that it answers the first of these questions more thoroughly than the second. Belief in c...
Data
Please see updated version here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323485603_Conspiracy_theory_research_database_-_UPDATE_MARCH_2018 Thank you.
Article
Full-text available
Two studies show that thinking about justice can both enhance and impede forgiveness, depending on whether thoughts about distributive and procedural justice for self and others are activated. In Study 1 (n = 197), participants expressed more forgiveness towards a prior transgressor when primed to think about justice for self or procedural justice...
Article
Full-text available
This research demonstrates that conspiracy theories—often represented as subversive alternatives to establishment narratives—may bolster, rather than undermine, support for the social status quo when its legitimacy is under threat. A pilot study (N = 98) found a positive relationship between conspiracy belief and satisfaction with the status quo. I...
Chapter
As science continues to progress, attitudes toward science seem to become ever more polarized. Whereas some put their faith in science, others routinely reject and dismiss scientific evidence. This chapter provides an integration of recent research on how people evaluate science. We organize our chapter along three research topics that are most rel...
Article
Research has shown that people often reinterpret their experiences of others' harm and suffering to maintain the functional belief that people get what they deserve (e.g., by blaming the victim). Rather than focusing on such reactive responses to harm and suffering, across 7 studies we examined whether people selectively and proactively choose to b...
Article
Research has shown that people often reinterpret their experiences of others' harm and suffering to maintain the functional belief that people get what they deserve (e.g., by blaming the victim). Rather than focusing on such reactive responses to harm and suffering, across 7 studies we examined whether people selectively and proactively choose to b...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we follow the approach taken by Riesch and Spiegalhalter in ?Careless pork costs lives?: Risk storiesfrom science to press release to media? published in this journal, anoffer an assessment of one example of a ?risk story?. Using content and thematic qualitative analysis, we consider how the findings of an article ?Fetal Alcohol Ex...