Dr Joe Stubbersfield is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Winchester, UK. His research draws on cultural evolution, social learning, and cognitive anthropology, and focuses on how cognitive biases influence both the content and propagation of information, in particular misinformation, conspiracy theories, urban legends and other contemporary folklore.
He holds a BSc in Psychology from the University of Manchester, an MSc in Evolutionary Psychology from the University of Liverpool, and a joint Psychology and Anthropology PhD from the University of Durham. He has held previous posts at the University of St Andrews, the University of Durham and Heriot-Watt University before joining the University of Winchester in 2021.
He is the current editor of the Cultural Evolution Collection for Humanities & Social Sciences Communications and a lead designer of a free, online learning module on the Cultural Evolution of Narratives for the Cultural Evolution Society.
Lecturer, Winchester University
Assistant Professor, Heriot-Watt University
Postdoctoral research associate, Durham University
Postdoctoral research fellow, St. Andrews University
Durham University, PhD
Liverpool University, Msc Evolutionary Psychology
Manchester University, BSc (Hons) Psychology
Belief correlations with parental vaccine hesitancy: Results from a national survey. , American Anthropologist, 124(2), 291-306.
The HCT Index: a typology and index of health conspiracy theories with examples of use, Wellcome Open Research, 6, 196.
Social transmission favours the ‘morally good’ over the ‘merely arousing’, Palgrave Communications 5 (1), 1-11
Faking the news: intentional guided variation reflects cognitive biases in transmission chains without recall., Cultural science journal. 10 (1), 54-65
An experimental investigation into the transmission of antivax attitudes using a fictional health controversy, Social Science & Medicine 215, 23-27
Cognitive evolution and the transmission of popular narratives: A literature review and application to urban legends, Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 1 (1), 121-136
Chicken tumours and a fishy revenge: evidence for emotional content bias in the cumulative recall of urban legends, Journal of Cognition and Culture 17 (1-2), 12-26
Serial killers, spiders and cybersex: social and survival information bias in the transmission of urban legends, British journal of psychology 106 (2), 288-307
Expect the Unexpected? Testing for minimally counterintuitive (MCI) bias in the transmission of contemporary legends a computational phylogenetic approach, Social Science Computer Review, 31(1), 90-102