Skeptics in the Pub, Reading

Thinking and drinking, humour and debate. Monthly talks and challenging discussions for people interested in science, critical thinking, evidence-based policy, or just life-long learning. Myths are debunked, accepted wisdom is challenged, new discoveries are celebrated.

Our meetings are open to all and free to attend, though we do collect voluntary donations towards our expenses.

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The psychology of conspiracy theories

Dr Mike Wood

When?
Monday, July 18 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

11 Castle St
Reading
RG1 7SB

Who?
Dr Mike Wood

What's the talk about?

Conspiracy theories are everywhere – and, arguably, always have been. What influences us to believe or reject them? Why do some events give rise to more conspiracy theories than others? What does the prevalence of conspiracy theories say about us as a society? And how is The Simpsons like an ancient Babylonian sheep’s liver? This whirlwind tour through conspiracy theory psychology will focus particularly on how suspicion, paranoia, and ambiguity help us to make sense of an uncertain world.

Dr Mike Wood is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Winchester, where he teaches social psychology, political psychology, and research methods, and conducts research on conspiracy theories and the future of methodology and statistical practice in empirical psychology. He has been interviewed on NPR, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, and Slate, and blogs irregularly at ConspiracyPsychology.

What Your Head Is Really Up To

Dean Burnett

When?
Monday, August 15 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

11 Castle St
Reading
RG1 7SB

Who?
Dean Burnett

What's the talk about?

Dr Dean Burnett, author of the Guardian's hugely popular Brain Flapping science blog, returns to Reading SITP to talk about his new book The Idiot Brain, a surprising, funny and mind-bending examination of how and why the brain sabotages our behaviour.

Dean Burnett has spent nearly two decades studying the human brain, the most complex, mysterious object in the known universe. In the same way that flaws begin to show when you spend too much time with one person, over time Burnett has come to learn that the human brain can be quite unreliable.

The Idiot Brain explores the many ways in which the brain does things inefficiently, illogically or just plain stupidly, and how these regularly end up influencing our everyday lives and the world around us.

From attention mechanisms to memory processing, the neuroscience of sleep and the psychology of superstition, The Idiot Brain highlights all manner of ways in which the brain is flawed or shoddy, how these impact on our lives in countless ways, and how it’s OK to laugh at all this regardless.