skip to content

Department of Psychology

Biography

Sander van der Linden is Reader (Professor) in Social Psychology in Society in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab. Before coming to Cambridge, he held posts at Princeton and Yale University. His research interests center around the psychology of human judgment, communication, and decision-making, including social norms and networks, attitudes and polarization, reasoning about evidence, and the public understanding of risk and uncertainty. He is especially interested in a) the social influence process and how people gain resistance to persuasion and b) how people form (mis)perceptions of the social world, including the emergence of social norms in shaping human cooperation and conflict in real-world collective action problems such as climate change and the spread of fake news and misinformation. His research spans from social psychology to cognitive science using a variety of techniques, from virtual reality to survey and lab studies to computational science and large-scale (online) interventions.

His research is regularly featured in the popular media, including outlets such as the New York Times, the BBC, CNN, The Economist, NPR, the Washington Post and Time Magazine.

For recent profiles on Dr van der Linden's research see here, here, and here.

Dr van der Linden has given many keynote lectures and gives talks regularly about his research for the public, industry, and government, including venues such as The Hay Festival, Behavioural Insights Team, the BBC, Microsoft, Bank of England, Festival of Ideas, United Nations, WhatsApp/Facebook, TEDx, Google, UK Government/Foreign Office, EU Commission, and the US Government.

For a full list of films, interviews, and lectures please see here.

 

Awards

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) and the Sir James Cameron Medal for the Public Understanding of Risk from the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. 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.

He received the 2020 grand Frank Prize awarded by the University of Florida's College of Journalism for research in the public interest on fake news and misinformation. 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 the prestigious Science and Society "Trust Prize" from the Royal Holland Society of Sciences, 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 the UK 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 = 3.63). He also sits on the editorial board of Personality & Individual Differences, Psychology, Public Policy, & Law, Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Risk Research, among others.

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

His 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 on the management board of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge and affiliated with the Yale Program on Climate Change 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).

Publications

Key publications: 

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

Nielsen, K., van der Linden, S., & Stern, P.C. (2020). How behavioural interventions can reduce the climate impact of energy use. Joule (Cell Press).

van der Linden, S., & Goldberg, M. (2020). Alternative meta-analysis of behavioural interventions to promote action on climate change yields different conclusions. Nature Communications.

Roozenbeek, J., Maertens, R., McClanahan, W.P., & van der Linden, S. (2020). Differentiating item and testing effects in inoculation research on online misinformation: Solomon revisited. Educational and Psychological Measurement.

Shrum, T., Markowitz, E., Buck, H., Gregory, R., van der Linden, S., Shazheen, A., & Van Boven, L. (2020). Behavioral frameworks to understand public perceptions of and risk response to carbon dioxide removal. Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Dryhurst, S., Schneider, C., Kerr, J., Freeman, A., Rechia, G., van der Bles, A.M., Spiegelhalter, D., & van der Linden, S. (2020). Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world. Journal of Risk Research.

van der Linden, S., Panagopoulos, C., Azevedo, F., & Jost, J.T. (in press). The paranoid style in American politics revisited: Evidence of an ideological asymmetry in conspiratorial thinking. Political Psychology.

Van Bavel, J. J., Baicker, K., Boggio, P. S., Capraro, V., Cichocka, A., Cikara, M., Crockett, M. J., Crum, A. J., Douglas, K. M., Druckman, J. N. Drury, J., Dube, O., Ellemers, N., Finkel, E. J., Fowler, J. H., Gelfand, M., Han, S., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., Kitayama, S., Mobbs, D., Napper, L. E., Packer, D. J., Pennycook, G., Peters, E., Petty, R. E., Rand, D. G., Reicher, S. D., Schnall, S., Shariff, A., Skitka, L. J., Smith, S. S., Sunstein, C. R., Tabri, N., Tucker, J. A., van der Linden, S., Van Lange, P. A. M., Weeden, K. A., Wohl, M. J. A., Zaki, J., Zion, S. & Willer, R. (in press). Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response. Nature Human Behaviour 4, 460-471.

Jia, L., & van der Linden, S. (2020). Green but not altruistic warm-glow predicts conservation behavior. Conservation Science and Practice 2, e211.

van der Linden, S., & Roozenbeek, J. (in press). Psychological inoculation against fake news. In Greifeneder, R., Jaffé, M., Newman, E.J., & Schwarz, N. (Eds.). The psychology of fake news: Accepting, sharing, and correcting misinformation. London, UK: Psychology Press.

Ruggeri, K., Alí, S.,  Berge, M.L., Bertoldo, G., Bjørndal, L., Cortijos-Bernabeu, A.,….…..van der Linden, S., & Folke, T. (2020). Replicating patterns of Prospect Theory for decision under risk. Nature Human Behaviour 4, 622-633.

van der Bles, A.M., van der Linden, S., Freeman, A., & Spiegelhalter, D. (2020). The effects of communicating uncertainty on public trust in facts and numbers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (14), 7672-7683.

Goldberg, M., Marlon, J., Wang, X., van der Linden, S., & Leiserowitz, A. (2020). Oil and gas companies invest in legislators that vote against the environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (10), 5111-5112..

Roozenbeek, J., van der Linden, S., & Nygren, T. (2020). Prebunking interventions based on inoculation theory can reduce susceptibility to misinformation across cultures. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review 1(2).

van der Linden, S., Panagopoulos, C., & Roozenbeek, J. (2020). You Are Fake News: Political Bias in Perceptions of Fake News. Media, Culture, & Society, 42(3), 460-470.

Basol, M., Roozenbeek, J., & van der Linden, S. (2020). Good news about Bad News: Gamified inoculation boosts confidence and cognitive immunity against fake news. Journal of Cognition, 3(1), 1-9.

Goldberg, M., & van der Linden, S. (2020). The importance of heterogeneity in large-scale replications. Journal of Social and Political Psychology 8(1), 25-29

Reynolds, J.P., Stautz, K., Piling, M., van der Linden, S., & Marteau, T. (2020). Communicating the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of government policies and its impact on public support: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Royal Society Open Science 7, 190522.

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 116(30), 14804-14805..

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 27 (3), 487-507. 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, 22(5), 570-580.

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

Old Cavendish Lab, Free School Lane
@Sander_vdLinden (twitter)
***ON SABBATICAL LEAVE 2020-21***
+44 (0)1223 (3)30398 (Department)
Classifications: 
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