Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3136: Political Psychology

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Aims

Beliefs about how people think about politics have been at the core of theories of politics since the ancients.  In this course, we will begin with a survey of important theories of political psychology from the past century.  We will focus mainly on hypotheses about how people develop their political attitudes and on the methods used to test those hypotheses.  Twentieth century researchers were constrained to observing behavior and relied on surveys, interviews, and simple experiments to make inferences about the political mind.  The second half of the course will look at the future of political psychology.  We will learn about cutting edge insights from fields like neuroscience, genetics, computational modeling, and evolutionary theory.  And, we will ask how those insights should inform our understanding of political cognition, affect, and behavior.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. apply a wide variety of models of human decision-making, even in difficult contexts;
2. design and critically evaluate experiments testing hypotheses about human decision-making;
Discipline-Specific Skills3. analyze a broad spectrum of research designs;
4. synthesize competing theories in order to apply them to novel social science problems;
Personal and Key Skills5. understand the physiology of anxiety and how to manage it in order to improve their performance in challenging contexts;
6. employ an inductive writing method to facilitate more powerful communication; and
7. use the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion) method to more effectively respond to problems in both written and verbal contexts.