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The Psychological Origins of Mass Politics


Admission requirements

Participation in the seminar is only permitted if the propaedeutic phase has been passed (60 EC).


This course examines what psychology can tell us about political phenomena. The course is divided into three “sections” that draw upon different theoretical traditions in political psychology. In the first, our focus will be on what psychological theory tells us about social influence, e.g. how our parents, schools, friends, and fellow social group members influence our attitudes and behavior. In the second, we will focus more on the individual and consider the influence of predispositions such as personality traits, values, and moral convictions. Finally, we will peer inside the mind to consider the role played by memory, motivation, and emotion in linking “state" (social context) and “trait" (predispositions) together to account for human behavior.

Course objectives

The learning objectives for the course are as follows. By the end of the course, students should be able to:
1. Systematically explain the contents of psychological theories of public opinion and political behavior and critically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses
2. Apply psychological theory to novel political questions

Mode of Instruction

Short lectures & seminar-style discussions

Reading List

See Brightspace

Course Load

Total course load: 280 hours
Seminars: 30 hours
Studying the literature: 125 hours
Preparation for the critical review essays and final research project: 125 hours

Assessment Method

The final grade is based on the following:
1. Attendance and class participation
2. Essays


See tab 'Practical Information'


See 'MyTimetable'