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.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

1. An Introduction to Political Psychology & Elite Decision-Making

Key concepts in political psychology; research designs and elite decision-making

2. Personality and Elite Decision-Making

i. James David Barber’s theory of presidential personality

ii. Other prominent theories of elite personality, e.g., trait analysis

3. Group processes and Elite Decision-Making

i. Groupthink

ii. Critiques and extensions of Groupthink

4. Analogical Reasoning in Foreign Policy Decision-Making

i. Khong’s theory of analogical reasoning in the Vietnam War

ii. Critiques and extensions of analogical reasoning in decision-making

5. Prospect Theory and Elite Decision-Making

i. The foundations of prospect theory

ii. Applications of prospect theory to foreign policy decisions

6. Hybrid Theories of Elite Decision-Making

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 22The module will be taught through 11 weekly 1 hour lectures and 11 weekly seminars (starting week 1) in which we discuss the topic and materials
Guided Independent study128Private study – reading and preparing for lectures and seminars (around 6 hours of reading and note-taking per week); researching and writing essay (around 47 hours researching, planning and writing each essay). Around 15 hours researching, planning, and writing the 500 word critiques

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

ELE – http://vle.exeter.ac.uk/