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Dr Sander van der Linden FRSA AFBPsS

Dr Sander van der Linden, FRSA AFBPsS

University Lecturer (Assistant Professor)

Director, Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory

Fellow and Director of Studies in Psychology, Churchill College

Sander van der Linden is accepting applications for PhD students.

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 (3)30398 (Department)


Dr. Sander van der Linden is a University Lecturer (Assistant Professor) 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,  human judgment and decision-making, and the psychology of risk, uncertainty, and communication. He is especially interested in the emergence, spread, and influence of social norms in shaping human altruism and cooperation in real-world social dilemmas such as climate change, public health, fake news, and inequality. Dr. van der Linden is currently focused on the (viral) spread of (mis)information, motivated belief systems, attitude polarization, and the role of norms, values, and ideology in social cognition and decision-making.

His research on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, especially in the context of sustainability, has been widely recognized with awards 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). In 2017, Dr. van der Linden was named a "Rising Star" by the Association for Psychological Science (APS). His research is featured regularly in the popular media, including outlets such as the New York Times, the BBC, NPR, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and the Guardian.

He was a recipient of the 2017 Frank Prize for outstanding social research in the public interest. He was also awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in 2017 and elected Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS). He is a recipient of the United States President's Volunteer Service Award (Gold Medal) and was nominated by Pacific Standard Magazine as one of the "30 Top Thinkers under 30". He sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Environmental Psychology and the Journal of Risk Research.

He is dedicated to conducting psychological science in the public interest and frequently writes for Scientific American Mind and Psychology Today. He also has a media partnership with Time Magazine to gather “big data” and serves as an academic consultant to BBC's "Tomorrow's World" where he looks at the large-scale aggregation of human values and what this might tell us about the future.

Dr. van der Linden is affiliated with the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at Cambridge University and the Yale Center for Environmental Communication at Yale University. He is also listed as a global expert on debunking misinformation in a novel database maintained by the School of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol.

Prior to Cambridge, Dr. van der Linden was based in the Department of Psychology, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs, and the Kahneman Center for Behavioral Science at Princeton University. Before his time at Princeton, 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).


  • Social Norms, Influence and Cognition
  • Risk, Judgement and Decision-Making
  • Prosociality, Cooperation and Altruism
  • Environmental Psychology and Well-Being

Key Publications

Selected publications from 2011 onwards:

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.

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

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. (2017). 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.

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. 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.