Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC3051: Political Psychology of Masses

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

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

Module Aims

This module aims to equip you with the tools to describe and evaluate political psychological theories of decision-making at the mass level and thus with the skills to develop your own ideas about what drives mass political attitudes and behaviours. The module begins by focusing on socialization and other explanations for where political attitudes come from before surveying a number of major topics within the field, including explanations for various kinds of violence and racism. You will learn about different theoretical perspectives and how to apply them to different examples in the study of mass behaviour. You will have the opportunity to discuss and evaluate contending theoretical perspectives and to bring theory and practice together to form their own perspectives. You will be encouraged to think critically about all of the key concepts that are explored in the module and to think about how they relate to wider questions and debates in Politics and International Relations (but also in psychology and history) about mass public opinion and behaviours. Using a range of learning methods including group presentations, research-based problem-solving exercises, film analysis, and general discussion and debate, you will have the opportunity to consider explanations of what masses do - in societies throughout the world – and how they shape contemporary world politics.

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. demonstrate detailed knowledge of the major theories of mass political attitudes and behaviour in the field of political psychology in oral and written work;
2. evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different theories and research about mass political attitudes and behaviour in oral and written work;
3. apply a range of psychological theories to mass decision-making in oral and written work;
Discipline-Specific Skills4. use key concepts pertaining to mass political attitudes and behaviour in oral and written work;
5. synthesize and critique a variety of theories and arguments in the field in your written work;
6. demonstrate a deep understanding of the implications of new evidence for a given theory of mass political attitudes and behaviour in your oral and written work;
7. demonstrate that you understand different methods of research in the field and their implications for findings in your oral and written work;
Personal and Key Skills8. work independently and in groups, including presentations for class discussion, and in spontaneous discussion and defence of arguments in class, and to manage conflict;
9. demonstrate oral and written analytical and organizational skills in essays, group presentations and group discussion; and
10. write essays effectively, using a range of appropriate materials, and working to a deadline.