Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
02 March 2022
Requisites for this module
MA L20812 Political Psychology,
MA L20824 Political Psychology,
MSC L20812 Political Psychology,
MSC L20824 Political Psychology
Politics is about people. Everything – angry tweeting, constitutional design, environmental lobbying, states going to war – boils down to the opinions, decisions and behaviour of individuals, and understanding those is the territory of psychology. Political psychology is a growing and thriving subfield, to which this module provides a wide-ranging introduction.
We will apply both the theories and methods of psychology to the behaviour of a range of political actors – voters, leaders, protestors, even terrorists. This is a practical as well as a theoretical module, with heavy emphasis on how we learn about political psychology and with every student designing – and perhaps in their dissertation executing – a research project in the field.
The aims of this module are to give students:
1. An understanding of the psychological underpinnings of the political phenomena studied in other PGT modules
2. A grounding in the core concepts in social, cognitive and personality psychology
3. Understanding of the drivers of and biases in human reasoning that shape political thinking
4. Understanding of how that political thinking interacts with and is shaped by political institutions
5. Accessible examples of empirical research that they can evaluate in terms of validity and usefulness
6. A feasible dissertation project option via the experimental design assignment
7. Greater empathy with ‘the other side’ in political terms, via an understanding of the psychology underlying ideological differences, polarisation and skewed perceptions.
1. A firm grasp of where political psychology sits with respect to the broader disciplines of political science and psychology
2. Applicable knowledge of the core concepts in social, cognitive and personality psychology
3. Ability to assess the contribution and to assess the weaknesses of key readings in the field
4. Recognition that our conclusions about political psychology depend heavily on both definition and measurement
5. Experience of research design in practice via the experimental design assignment
Week 2: Politics and the brain
Week 3: Personality and values
Week 4: Authority and conformity
Week 5: Emotions
Week 6: Group identity
Week 7: Prejudice and polarisation
Week 8: Facts, fake news and conspiracies
Week 9: Leaders and decisions
Week 10: Conflict and peace
Week 11: Mental health and politics
This module will be delivered with a weekly two-hour interactive seminar. Each session will consist of a blend of lecturing, Q&A, group and whole-class discussion – the precise blend to depend in part on student numbers. There
There will be two Required Readings each week: one an academic article or chapter, another a topical piece – a blog post, newspaper article, Twitter thread, or some such – that illustrates the issues raised and provides a basis for class discussion. There will be longer lists of Useful Reading, helpful for detailed preparation and especially essay writing.
Huddy, L. et al.
(2023) ‘Introduction’, in L. Huddy et al. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology
. Oxford University Press, pp. 1–18. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197541296.013.1
Schreiber, D. (2017) ‘Neuropolitics: Twenty years later’, Politics and the Life Sciences
, 36(2), pp. 114–131. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/pls.2017.25
Bakker, B.N. (2023) ‘Personality Approaches to Political Behavior’, in L. Huddy et al. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology
. Oxford University Press, pp. 21–C2P422. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197541296.013.2
Feldman, S. and Weber, C. (2023) ‘Authoritarianism and Political Conflict’, in L. Huddy et al. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology
. Oxford University Press, pp. 733–C20P270. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197541296.013.19
Kushner Gadarian, S. and Brader, T. (2023) ‘Emotion and Political Psychology’, in L. Huddy et al. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology
. Oxford University Press, pp. 191–C6P490. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197541296.013.5
Mason, L. (2023) ‘Political Identities’, in L. Huddy et al. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology
. Oxford University Press, pp. 886–C24P295. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780197541296.013.23
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Robert Johns, email: email@example.com.
Prof Rob Johns firstname.lastname@example.org; Module Administrator: Jamie Seakens, email@example.com
Dr Damien Bol
King's College London
Available via Moodle
Of 14 hours, 14 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.
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