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 Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

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

      Key concepts in mass political psychology

2. Political Socialization

      Where do political attitudes come from?

      How stable are political attitudes?

3. Obedience and Authoritarianism

      The Milgram experiments

      Theories of authoritarianism and their implications for democratic citizenship

4. Atrocities

      From Norman atrocities in Yorkshire through Rwanda to Syria in 2014. What makes ordinary people      participate in atrocities?

5. Terrorism

       Is there a ‘terrorist personality’?

6. Racism

      How can political psychologists measure racism?

      What causes racism?

      Stereotype threat and the effects of racism on its targets

7. Tolerance

      Theories of political tolerance and the implications of intolerance

8. Affect and Emotion

      Traditional views of the detrimental effects of affect on decision-making

     Contemporary views of ‘affective intelligence’ and the role of emotion in rational decision-making

9. Media

     How do individuals process information from media?

     What are the effects of media? Looking at agenda setting, priming, and framing

10. Participation, Deliberation and Influence of Peers

      Deliberative polls, explanation of their effects, and what they imply

      Why people vote and the influence of social pressure

11. Neuroscience and Genetics

      The neuroscientific turn in political psychology. The promise and limitation of fMRI

     Contemporary research into genetic influences on political attitudes and behaviours and its implications for political psychology


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 2211 x 2hr seminars
Guided Independent study128Private study – reading and preparing for seminars (around 6 hours of reading and note-taking per seminar); researching and writing essay (around 45 hours researching, planning and writing each essay). Around 17 hours researching, planning, and describing the experiment.

Online Resources

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