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Dr Sander van der Linden AFBPsS

Dr Sander van der Linden, AFBPsS

University Lecturer (Assistant Professor)

Director, Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory

Coordinator, MPhil Program in Biological Sciences (Psychology)

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 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, human judgment and decision-making, and the psychology of risk and human communication. He is especially interested in how people form perceptions of the social world, including the emergence, spread, and influence of social norms in shaping human cooperation in real-world social dilemmas such as climate change, sustainability, fake news, and public health. Dr. van der Linden is currently focused on the (viral) spread of (mis)information, media effects, polarization, intergroup conflict, and the role of norms, values, and ideology in social cognition. He's also interested in field research, statistical methodology, and the role of trust and evidence in social 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). He has also received 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), especially for his work on the psychology of sustainability & 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 for research in the public interest. Fast Company Magazine recently described him as one of 4 heroes of digital democracy. He is a chartered psychologist (CPsychol), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and 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, Personality & Individual Differences, Psychology, Public Policy & Law, and the Journal of Risk Research.

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.

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 and is on exhibit in the London Design Museum for Beazley's 2018 Designs of the Year. For a recent BBC profile on Dr. van der Linden's research, please read more here.

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 co-founded the Risk and Uncertainty Conference (RUC) and is listed as a global expert on debunking misinformation in a novel post-truth database maintained by the University of Bristol.

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).


  • 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 (for access see Google Scholar or ResearchGate):

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.

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.