Lecture to focus on conspiracy theories, denialism
Psychologist Dr. Seth C. Kalichman will discuss why people believe in conspiracy theories and deny documented historical events and societal issues, in a public lecture Monday, Nov. 2, at the University of South Carolina.
Kalichman, a graduate of the university and a professor at the University of Connecticut, will speak from 3:30 – 5 p.m. in Room 209 of Davis College. (Please note that the lecture site has been changed.) The event is open and free to the public.
His talk, “AIDS, 9/11, and The Holocaust: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories and Denialism,” is based on his new book, written for a popular audience, titled “Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience and Human Tragedy.”
In 1990, the year Kalichman graduated from the university’s doctoral program in clinical-community psychology, he began researching AIDS, which sparked his interest in AIDS denialism and its similarity to other well-documented forms of denial, including the Holocaust.
“The prevalence of AIDS denialism on the Internet poses a threat to public health, and research shows that these beliefs are associated with poorer health outcomes,” said Kalichman. “AIDS conspiracy theories underlie AIDS denialism, which is best understood as a mental-health problem with public-health ramifications.”
Kalichman is the director of the Southeast HIV/AIDS Research & Evaluation (SHARE) Project. He is editor of AIDS and Behavior, a leading journal on AIDS. His research focuses on social and behavioral aspects of AIDS and has funding and support by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. He has written five books and donates all royalties to purchase HIV treatments in Africa. He was honored by the American Psychological Association with an early career award for his research and professional contributions.
While at the university, Kalichman will receive the department of psychology’s distinguished alumnus award. For more information about the Nov. 2 lecture, call Dr. Abe Wandersman at 803-777-7671.