Psychologists investigate online communication of conspiracy theories

Research by Dr Michael Wood and Dr Karen Douglas has found that people who argue in favour of conspiracy theories use different persuasive strategies from those who argue against them.

Results from the study, which analysed online comment sections of over 2000 news articles from the latter half of 2011 that relate to the collapse of the World Trade Center, showed that anti-conspiracy comments most often argued in favour of their own explanation of the incident. The researchers argue that this reflects a psychological difference between people who support conspiracy theories and people who support official accounts.

For further details see the press release or read the article online.

Kent research leads to national polygraph testing for sex offenders

Pioneering research from a team of forensic psychologists led by Professor Theresa Gannon and Dr Jane Wood into the increased disclosures made by sex offenders using polygraph testing will be adopted nationwide.

Agreed in the House of Commons on Tuesday 2 July 2013 – and to be considered by the House of Lords later this month – the legislation will mean polygraph testing of sex offenders, particularly high risk sex offenders, will be undertaken by probation staff across the UK.

Following a two year pilot polygraph scheme, researchers from the University of Kent’s Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology (CORE-FP) found overwhelming evidence to suggest that sex offenders supervised in the pilot polygraph scheme made more disclosures about their risk.

Find out what the investigators had to say about their findings in their press release.