Thursday, June 5, 2008

I overloaded on politics - do I need a political psycholigist?

I think I have overloaded on politics this week. My waking up to NPR, hearing a particular co-worker whose name starts with a big "M" talk in the hall, reading emails from people who think the world is ending just because Obama is up for election. Seriously? Maybe you have overloaded as well?

That's why I was intrigued when I came across the field of political psychology.

Political psychology is an interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to the relationship between psychology and political science, with a focus on the role of human thought, emotion, and behavior in politics.[1]...While the grammar of "political psychology" tends to stress psychology as the central field, the discipline could also be accurately labeled "the psychology of politics," so as to more evenly recognize the interdisciplinary nature of the field.[2]

It's so great that there are other people in the world who think something psychological is going on in politics. What percentage of people vote a way because their parents did, or out of fear or anger, or based on race or gender, or because of a lot of reasons that are about their psychological make up, not politics.

So here are just a few studies I found being done in political psychology at the University of Minnesota (grin). I choose just a few topics I found fascinating.
  • Dana Adams and Henriet Hendricks, graduate students in political science, are exploring the effects of charisma in political campaigns.
  • Damla Ergun, a graduate student in social psychology, is investigating the intersection between affect and political decision-making and attitudes.
  • Social psychology graduate student Corrie Hunt is exploring the relationship between emotional reactions and the structure of political attitudes.
  • Political science graduate student Aaron Rapport is investigating the role of false consensus as a mediator between confirmation bias and policy choice in hierarchical small groups.


~Deb said...

I think the bulk of our decisions and opinions regarding politics is based on psychology. You're absolutely right.

Ron C. de Weijze said...

I state that politics and psychology are most directly linked or melted, by the social psychological phenomenon of group-polarization: when people in a group (that may be just forming), try to become leader of that group, they will shift their opinions towards the opinion of whom is perceived to be the leader. This phenomenon has already been successfully applied in the explanation of the emergence of terrorist cells (Mertens, 2004). For group-polarization consists of risky-shift (of opinions) towards an extreme, extremization and finally terrorization. Politics is trying to keep it under control, but by the wrong means imho: by an ideology of religious relativism, cultural relativism, political correctness and multiculturalism. Pragmatically that boils down to bunching up all not really wanted immigrant nationalities in particular poor quarters of the old cities, as long as they do not bother the elites in their backyards. I guess that at least in EU, this is the #1 political issue, ànd psychological.

titration said...

Woh. Way cool. Thanks for the comments you both. And ron c dek Weijze looks like you are doing some really interesting research. I check out your site.