Political Psychology

POLT 4100/PSYC 4150

Fall 2010

When one hears the term, political psychology, one might envision the study of elections, campaigns, and voting behavior. While not inaccurate, this perception excludes a broad range of topics that fall within the purview of political psychology. For example, the following questions all address political psychology topics.

  1. Why would someone knowingly join a hate group such as the KKK?
  2. What role does personality play in leadership?
  3. Could the space shuttle disasters have been averted?
  4. Why did Hutus begin feverishly murdering their Tutsi neighbors in Rwanda?
  5. What possessed a scandal-ridden President to make the choice to have an illicit affair knowing full well that he was living under constant press scrutiny?
  6. What is the impact of prejudice on people's lives and do we all harbor a measure of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.?
  7. Why did the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 happen?
  8. Why war?

This course will examine these questions and more! In other words, we will examine the interaction of political and psychological processes and their impact on behavior in both our local and global communities.


Photo Credits: L. Woolf