Abstract: Since the birth of modern civilisation, humans have been creating stories that capture their theories about how the world works and how they should act within this complex world. These narratives both describe and prescribe human action, and exist in a kaleidoscope of forms – from religious doctrines to authoritarian nationalism to political manifestos. Why and how do these explosive ideologies seduce and captivate the human brain? The talk will synthesize an emerging research program on the cognitive underpinnings of ideological thinking, which examines how perceptual traits shape individuals’ ideological dogmatism, extremism, and beliefs. Importantly, this line of inquiry differs from traditional approaches in political psychology because it applies theories and empirical techniques from cognitive psychology and neuroscience in order to address the fundamental questions: What makes some brains more dogmatic than others? What perceptual and cognitive traits lead to ideological tendencies? And how do these individualized psychological processes percolate into the realm of collective doctrines and social relations? In its entirety, this research program aims to illustrate that we can build a cognitive science of the ideological mind, and that this can reveal why minds become dogmatic, hostile, and extreme - as well as, hopefully, how minds can become open-minded, tolerant, and receptive to evidence.