Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC2041: The Political Psychology of Elites

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Daniel Stevens (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


When we study the decisions of political leaders, we often think about them in terms of the power relations between states.  Or we look at leaders as rational actors determined to maximize benefits and minimize costs. In other words, we ignore what is often referred to as the “black box”, or the psychological processes and dynamics that lie behind decisions. Political psychology focuses explicitly on the “black box.” In this module, you will examine psychological explanations of elite policy decision-making, focusing mostly on foreign policy cases such as the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq. Political psychology is a relatively new subfield of Politics that has provided a wealth of new insights and approaches to the study of politics, many of which you will encounter in this module.

No prior knowledge skills or experience are required to take this module and it is suitable for specialist and non-specialist students

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