Fall 2021

Political Psychology

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-331

Moodle site: Course


Princess Williams (Section 01)


Since Plato and Aristotle, many thinkers have asked what motivates political behavior and influences political judgment. This course explores the assumptions that underlie studies of individual and group political behavior. We will begin by examining the motivations of citizens’ political decisions (i.e., why do voters favor one candidate, public policy, or political party) and the actions of leaders (i.e., why they support or stigmatize social groups, express hostility to other nations, advocate particular policies). We will then take a close look at psychological concepts such as framing, selective exposure, motivated reasoning, priming, social identity, and self-interest and ask how they help us to better understand both historical and contemporary political outcomes. We will also explore different methods of collecting data and measuring political and psychological processes. This course will focus primarily on studies of American politics, but whenever possible we will examine comparative case studies.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above). Sophomores and above. Not open to first year students. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Williams.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to seniors and Political Science majors.


Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021