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Department of Psychology


Dr. Sander van der Linden is a (tenured) Assistant Professor (University Lecturer) in Social Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab. His research interests include social influence, attitudes, persuasion, human judgment and decision-making and the psychology of risk and social communication. He is especially interested in a) the influence process and how people gain resistance to persuasion and b) how people form (mis)perceptions of the social world, including the emergence, spread, and influence of social norms in shaping human cooperation in real-world collective action problems such as climate change, the spread of fake news and misinformation, inequality, and public health. Dr. van der Linden also works on (social) media effects, polarization, intergroup conflict, and the role of norms, values, and ideology in social cognition. Broadly, he's interested in field research, methodology, and the role of evidence in decision-making.


His research on the psychology of judgment and decision-making has been widely recognized. In 2017, Dr. van der Linden was named a "Rising Star" by the Association for Psychological Science (APS). In 2019, he received the Sage Early Career Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). He has received best paper awards for his research from organisations such as the American Psychological Association (APA), the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), particularly for his work on the psychology of sustainability and climate change. His research is regularly featured in the popular media, including the New York Times, the BBC, NPR, the Washington Post and Time Magazine.

He was a recipient of the Frank Prize awarded by the University of Florida for research in the public interest. Fast Company Magazine recently described van der Linden as one of 4 heroes of digital democracy, WIRED magazine featured him as one of "15 top thinkers", and he was nominated by Pacific Standard Magazine as one of the "30 Top Thinkers under 30". He is a chartered psychologist (CPsychol), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS), and a recipient of the United States President's Volunteer Service Award (Gold Medal).

The Fake News Game, Bad News, as featured in MIT Tech Review, received an honorable mention in Fast Company's 2018 Innovation by Design Awards as well as the runner-up BX award for most outstanding and innovative behavioural science research from David Halpern's Behavioural Insights Team. The game was on exhibit in the London Design Museum for Beazley's 2018 Designs of the Year and in Australia's Museum of Design for Games for Peace. For a recent BBC profile on Dr. van der Linden's research, please read more here.

Editorial Positions and Affiliations

Dr van der Linden is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Environmental Psychology (JEP), the premier journal covering all human-environment interactions (IF = 3.62). He also sits on the editorial board of Personality & Individual Differences, Psychology, Public Policy, & Law, and the Journal of Risk Research, among others.

Dr. van der Linden is co-convener the Cambridge Special Interest Group on Disinformation and Media Literacy.

His latest book "Risk and Uncertainty in a Post-Truth Society" was published by the Earthscan Risk in Society Series.

He is dedicated to conducting psychological science in the public interest and frequently writes for Scientific American Mind. He also had a media partnership with Time Magazine to gather “big data” on social-psychological issues and served as an academic consultant to BBC's "Tomorrow's World" where he helped create a Global Values Quiz to look at the large-scale aggregation of human values.

Dr. van der Linden is affiliated with the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge and the Yale Center for Environmental Communication at Yale University. He co-founded the Risk and Uncertainty Conference (RUC).

Prior to Cambridge, Dr. van der Linden was a postdoctoral research associate and lecturer in the Department of Psychology, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs, and the Kahneman Center for Behavioral Science at Princeton University. Before that, he was a visiting research scholar (2012-2014) at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).


Key publications: 

Selected publications from 2011 onwards (for access see Google Scholar or ResearchGate):

Goldberg, M., van der Linden, S., Maibach, E., & Leiserowitz, A. (2019). Discussing global warming leads to greater acceptance of climate science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Roozenbeek, J., & van der Linden, S. (2019). Fake news game confers psychological resistance against online misinformation. Nature Palgrave Communications 5, 65, 10.1057/s41599-019-0279-9.

van der Linden, S., & Lofstedt, R. (2019). Risk and Uncertainty in a Post-Truth Society. London: Routledge (Earthscan).

van der Linden, S. (2019). Countering science denial. Nature Human Behaviour.

van der Bles, A.M., van der Linden, S., Freeman, A., Mitchell, J., Galvao, A., Zaval, L., & Spiegelhalter, D. (2019). Communicating uncertainty about facts, numbers, and science. Royal Society Open Science 6, 181870.

Goldberg, M., van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., & Maibach, E. (2019). Perceived social consensus can reduce ideological biases on climate change. Environment and Behavior.

van der Linden, S., Maibach, E., & Leiserowitz, A. (2019). Exposure to scientific consensus does not cause psychological reactance. Environmental Communication.

van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., & Maibach, E. (2019). The Gateway Belief Model: A Large-Scale Replication. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 62, 49-58.

Rosenthal, S., Hooley, J., Montoya, M., van der Linden, S., & Steshenko, Y. (2019). The Narcissistic Grandiosity Scale: A measure to distinguish narcissistic grandiosity from high self-esteem. Assessment. Click here for NGS Scale.

Goldberg, M., van der Linden, S., Ballew, M., Rosenthal, S., & Leiserowitz, A. (2019). The role of anchoring in judgments about expert consensus. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 49(3), 192-200.

van der Linden, S., & Panagopoulos, C. (2018). The O'Reilly Factor: An ideological bias in judgments about sexual harassment. Personality and Individual Differences, 139, 198-201.

van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., & Maibach, E. (2018). Perceptions of scientific consensus predict later beliefs about the reality of climate change using cross-lagged panel analysis. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 60, 110-111.

van der Linden, S., & Lewandowsky, S. (2018). How to combat distrust of science. In Return to Reason: The Science of Thought. New York, NY: Scientific American (Nature Springer). ISBN: 978-1-948933-03-2.

van der Linden, S. (2018). The future of behavioral insights: On the importance of socially situated nudges. Behavioural Public Policy, 2(2), 207-217.

Chryst, B., Marlon, J., van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., & Roser-Renouf, C. (2018). Global Warming’s “Six Americas Short Survey”: Audience Segmentation of Climate Change Views Using a Four Question Instrument. Environmental Communication 12 (8), 1109-1122. Yale segmentation app available here.

Brick, C., & van der Linden, S. (2018). Yawning at the Apocalypse. The Psychologist 31, 30-35 (reprinted as "Psychologists and the largest social dilemma in history in the European Bulletin of Social Psychology 30, 2).

Lewandowsky, S., van der Linden, S., & Cook, J. (2018). Can we inoculate against fake news? CREST Security Review 8, p.10 (reprinted in ESRC Society Now 33, p.16).

Zhang, B., van der Linden, S., Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J., Howe, P., & Leiserowitz, A. (2018). Experimental effects of climate messages vary geographically. Nature Climate Change 8, 370-374.

Cook, J., van der Linden, S., Lewandowsky, S., & Maibach, E. (2018). The Consensus Handbook. doi:10.13021/G8MM6P.

Jost, J.T., van der Linden, S., Panagopoulos, C., & Hardin, C. (2018). Ideological asymmetries in conformity, desire for shared reality, and the spread of misinformation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 23, 77-83.

Roozenbeek, J., & van der Linden, S. (2018). The Fake News Game: Actively Inoculating Against the Risk of Misinformation. Journal of Risk Research. doi: 10.1080/13669877.2018.1443491

Weinschenk, A., Panagopoulos, C., Drabot, K., & van der Linden, S. (2018). Gender and social conformity: Do men and women respond differently to social pressure to vote? Social Influence 13(2), 53-64.

van der Linden, S. (2018). Warm glow is associated with low but not high-cost sustainable behaviour. Nature Sustainability 1, 28-30.

Marlon, J., van der Linden, S., Howe, P., Leiserowitz, A., Woo, L., & Broad, K. (2018). Detecting local environmental change: The role of experience in shaping risk judgments about global warming. Journal of Risk Research.

van der Linden, S., Maibach, E., Cook, J., Leiserowitz, A., & Lewandowsky, S. (2017). Inoculating against misinformation. Science 358(6367), 1141-1142.

van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., & Maibach, E. (2018). Scientific agreement can neutralize the politicization of facts. Nature Human Behaviour 2, 2-3. doi: 10.1038/s41562-017-0259-2.

van der Linden, S. (2017). Beating the hell out of fake news. The Proceedings of the Conway Hall Ethical Society 122(6), 4-7.

van der Linden, S., & Chryst, B. (2017). No Need for Bayes Factors: A Fully Bayesian Evidence Synthesis. Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, 3:12. Bayesian Evidence Synthesis Tool Available Here.

Rugerri, K., Yoon, H., Ondrej, K., van der Linden, S., & Muennig, P. (2017). Policy and population behavior in the age of Big Data. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 18, 1-6.

van der Linden, S., Maibach, E., Cook, J., Leiserowitz, A., Ranney, M., Lewandowsky, S., Arvai, J., & Weber, E.U. (2017). Culture vs. Cognition is a False Dilemma. Nature Climate Change 7, 457-457.

van der Linden, S. (2017). The nature of viral altruism and how to make it stick. Nature Human Behaviour 1, 0041.

van der Linden, S., Leiserowitz, A., Rosenthal, S., & Maibach, E. (2017). Inoculating the Public Against Misinformation about Climate Change. Global Challenges 1(2). doi: 10.1002/gch2.201600008.

van der Linden, S. (2017). Determinants and Measurement of Climate Change Risk Perception, Worry, and Concern. In M. Nisbet (Ed.), Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication (pp. 369-401). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Pearson, A., & van der Linden, S. (2017). When does deprivation motivate future-oriented thinking? The case of climate change. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40, e336.

van der Linden, S. (2017). The role of climate in human aggression and violence: Towards a broader conception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40, 37-38.

Panagopolous, C., & van der Linden, S. (2016). Conformity to implicit social pressure: The role of political identity. Social Influence 11(3), 177-184.

van der Linden, S., Maibach, E., & Leiserowitz, A. (2015). Improving public engagement with climate change: Five “best practice” insights from psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(6), 758-763.

van der Linden, S. (2015). Intrinsic motivation and pro-environmental behaviour. Nature Climate Change, 5(7), 612-613.

van der Linden, S., & Rosenthal, S. A. (2015). Measuring narcissism with a single question? A replication and extension of the Single-Item Narcissism Scale (SINS). Personality and Individual Differences, 90, 238-241.

van der Linden, S. (2015). A conceptual critique of the cultural cognition thesis. Science Communication, 38(1), 128-138.

van der Linden, S., & Chryst, B. (2015). Why the "new statistics" isn't new. The Psychologist, 28(8), 610.

van der Linden, S. (2015). The conspiracy-effect: Exposure to conspiracy theories (about global warming) decreases pro-social behavior and science acceptance. Personality and Individual Differences, 87, 171-173.

van der Linden, S., Clarke, C., & Maibach, E. (2015). Highlighting consensus among medical scientists increases public support for vaccines: Evidence from a randomized experiment. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 1207.

van der Linden, S. (2015). The social-psychological determinants of climate change risk perceptions: Towards a comprehensive model. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 41, 112-124.

van der Linden, S. L., Leiserowitz, A. A., Feinberg, G. D., & Maibach, E. W. (2015). The scientific consensus on climate change as a gateway belief: Experimental evidence. PloS ONE, 10(2), e0118489.

van der Linden, S. (2015). Green prison programmes, recidivism, and mental health: A primer. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 25(5), 338-342.

van der Linden, S. (2014). On the relationship between personal experience, affect and risk perception: The case of climate change. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44(5), 430-440.

van der Linden, S. (2013). A response to Paul Dolan. In A. Oliver (Ed.), Behavioural Public Policy (pp. 209-215). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.

van der Linden, S. (2013). Exploring beliefs about bottled water and intentions to reduce consumption: The dual-effect of social norm activation and persuasive information. Environment and Behavior, 47(5), 526-550.

van der Linden, S. (2011). Charitable intent: A moral or social construct? A revised theory of planned behavior model. Current Psychology, 30(4), 355-374.

University Lecturer (Assistant Professor)
Director, Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory
Graduate Admissions Officer
Coordinator, MPhil Program in Psychology
Fellow and Director of Studies in Psychology, Churchill College
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Environmental Psychology

Contact Details

Person keywords: 
Social Norms, Influence and Cognition
Risk, Judgement and Decision-Making
Prosociality, Cooperation and Altruism
Environmental Psychology and Well-Being
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy