Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2013

Political Psychology: Citizen Behaviors and Opinions

Lecturer: Professor Patrick Fournier,
Département de Science Politique,

Université de Montréal, Canada

Main disciplines: Political Science, Psychology

Dates: 29 July - 2 August 2013
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants


Responsible institutions
This course is a summer school course for the ECPR standing group on Public Opinion and Voting Behaviour in a Comparative Perspective. This course is financed by The Centre of the Study of Democratic Citizenship at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and The Training Network in Electoral Democracy (ELECDEM), and the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway.
 

Objectives
Political actions can be examined from a variety of perspectives: economically, sociologically, historically, anthropologically, legally, etc. This course examines the relevance of psychological approaches for our understanding of the political behaviors and opinions of ordinary citizens. One day will be devoted to each of the four most important approaches in recent decades: personality, cognition, emotion, and biopolitics.

This course will not systematically compare the psychological perspective to all other alternatives. Rather, it will present and critically analyze the contributions that political psychology can offer to better comprehend political participation, public opinion, and vote choice.

Although many of the readings tackle the most studied case (the USA), the lectures will strive to emphasize the findings that are pertinent for citizenship empirical research in all democracies.
 

 

Books needed for the course:
Participants should obtain and read these two books in advance of the lectures. All other course readings will be included in the compendium supplied to participants.

  • Milgram, Stanley. 1974. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View, New York: Harper. [Many reprints since 1974]
  • Marcus, George, W. Russell Neuman & Michael MacKuen. 2000. Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

LECTURE OUTLINE

Lecture 1: Political psychology

What is political psychology? What will this course cover and not cover?

Readings:

  • Hermann, Margaret G. 1986. “What is Political Psychology?”, in M. Hermann (ed.), Political Psychology, San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • McQuire, Wiliam J. 1993. “The Poly-Psy Relationship”, in S. Iyengar & W.J. McGuire (eds), Explorations in Political Psychology, Durham: Duke University Press.

 

Lecture 2: Responses to authority

How do people react to directives from superiors in hierarchies? Can this lead to violence?

Readings:

  • Milgram, Stanley. 1974. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View, New York: Harper. Chapters 1-11. [Many reprints since 1974]

 

Lecture 3: Personality 1: Authoritarianism

Emergence and evolution of research on the central political personality trait.

Readings:

  • Altemeyer, Bob. 1996. The Authoritarian Specter, Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapter 1.
  • Perrin, Andrew J. 2005. “National Threat and Political Culture: Authoritarianism, Antiauthoritarianism, and the September 11 Attacks”, Political Psychology, 26: 167-194.
  • Stenner, Karen. 2005. The Authoritarian Dynamic, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 2.

 

Lecture 4: Personality 2: Other traits

The effects of other personality traits on electoral turnout and vote choice.

Readings:

  • Caprara, Gian Vittorio, Claudio Barbaranelli & Philip G. Zimbardo. 1999. “Personality Profiles and Political Parties”, Political Psychology, 20: 175-197.
  • Mondak, Jeffrey J., & Karen D. Halperin. 2008. “A Framework for the Study of Personality and Political Behaviour”, British Journal of Political Science, 38: 335-362.
  • Fowler, James H., & Cindy D. Kam. 2006. “Patience as a Political Virtue: Delayed Gratification and Turnout”, Political Behavior, 28: 113-128.
  • Denny, Kevin, & Orla Doyle. 2008. “Political Interest, Cognitive Ability and Personality: Determinants of Voter Turnout in Britain”, British Journal of Political Science, 38: 291-310.
     

Lecture 5: Cognition 1: Three models of opinion formation

How do people make up their mind about politics?

Readings:

  • Sniderman, Paul M., Richard A. Brody & Philip E. Tetlock. 1991. Reasoning and Choice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapters 2 & 4.
  • Lupia, Arthur. 1994. “Shortcuts versus Encyclopedias: Information and Voting Behavior in California Insurance Reform Elections”, American Political Science Review, 88: 63-76.
  • Lodge, Milton, Marco Steenbergen, & Shawn Brau. 1995. “The Responsive Voter: Campaign Information and the Dynamics of Candidate Evaluation”, American Political Science Review, 89: 309-326.
  • Zaller, John, & Stanley Feldman. 1992. “A Simple Theory of the Survey Response: Answering Questions versus revealing preferences”, American Journal of Political Science, 36: 579-616.

 

Lecture 6: Cognition 2: The quality of opinions

Do people reach the right decisions? And what does this tell us about the validity of the three models of opinion formation?

Readings:

  • Bartels, Larry. 1996. “Uninformed Votes: Information Effects in Presidential Elections”, American Journal of Political Science, 40: 194-230.
  • Blais, André, Elisabeth Gidengil, Patrick Fournier & Neil Nevitte. 2009. “Information, Visibility and Elections: Why Electoral Outcomes Differ When Voters Are Better Informed”, European Journal of Political Research, 48: 256-280.
  • Althaus, Scott L. 1998. “Information Effects in Collective Preferences”, American Political Science Review, 92: 545-558.
  • Luskin, Robert C., James Fishkin, & Roger Jowell. 2002. “Considered Opinions: Deliberative Polling in Britain”, British Journal of Political Science, 32: 455-487.
     


Lecture 7: Emotions 1: Affective intelligence

Examination of the main theory about emotions and politics.

Readings:

  • Marcus, George, W. Russell Neuman & Michael MacKuen. 2000. Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Lecture 8: Emotions 2: Other models

Other indications that affect has an impact on political decision-making.

Readings:

  • Lodge, Milton, & Charles Taber. 2005. “The Automaticity of Affect for Political Leaders, Groups, and Issues: An Experimental Test of the Hot Cognition Hypothesis”, Political Psychology, 26: 455-482.
  • Huddy, Leonie, Stanley Feldman, Charles Taber & Gallya Lahav. 2005. “Threat, Anxiety, and Support of Antiterrorism Policies”, American Journal of Political Science, 49: 593-608.
  • Druckman, James N., & Rose McDermott. 2008. “Emotions and the Framing of Risky Choice”, Political Behavior, 30: 297-321.
  • Healy, Andrew, Neil Malhotra, and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo. 2010. “Irrelevant Events Affect Voters’ Evaluations of Government Performance”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,107(29): 12804-12809.
     

Lecture 9: Biopolitics 1: The role of genes

Does genetic background affect political behaviors and opinions?

Readings:

  • Alford, John R., Carolyn L. Funk & John R. Hibbing. 2005. “Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?”, American Political Science Review, 99: 153-168.
  • Fowler, James H., Laura A. Baker & Christopher T. Dawes. 2008. “Genetic Variation in Political Participation”, American Political Science Review, 102: 233-248.
  • Fowler, James H., & Christopher T. Dawes. 2008. “Two Genes Predict Voter Turnout”, Journal of Politics, 70: 579-594.
  • Settle, Jaime E., Christopher T. Dawes, Nicholas A. Christakis, & James H. Fowler. 2010. “Friendships Moderate an Association between a Dopamine Gene Variant and Political Ideology”, Journal of Politics, 72: 1189-1198.
     


Lecture 10: Biopolitics 2: Physiological responses

Are political reactions hard-wired into our brains?

Readings:

  • Soroka, Stuart, & Stephen McAdams. 2010. “News, Politics, and Negativity”, CIRANO Scientific Series.
  • Oxley, Douglas R., Kevin B. Smith, John Alford, Matthew V. Hibbing, Jennifer L. Miller, Mario Scalora, Peter K. Hatemi, & John R. Hibbing. 2008. “Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits”, Science, 321: 1667-1670.
  • Dodd, Michael, Amanda Balzer, Carly Jacobs, Michael Grusczynszyki, Kevin Smith, & John Hibbing. “The Political Left Rolls with the Good and the Political Right Confronts the Bad: Connecting Physiology and Cognition to Preferences”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 367: 640-649.
  • Amodio, David M., John T. Jost, Sarah L. Master & Cindy M. Yee. 2007. “Neurocognitive Correlates of Liberalism and Conservatism”, Nature Neuroscience, 10: 1246-1247.
  • Schreiber, Darren, Greg Fonzo, Alan N. Simmons, Christopher T. Dawes, Taru Flagan, James H. Fowler & Martin P. Paulus. 2013. “Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans”, PLoS One, 8(2): e52970.
     

Complete reading list:

  • Alford, John R., Carolyn L. Funk & John R. Hibbing. 2005. “Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?”, American Political Science Review, 99: 153-168.
  • Altemeyer, Bob. 1996. The Authoritarian Specter, Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapter 1.
  • Althaus, Scott L. 1998. “Information Effects in Collective Preferences”, American Political Science Review, 92: 545-558.
  • Amodio, David M., John T. Jost, Sarah L. Master & Cindy M. Yee. 2007. “Neurocognitive Correlates of Liberalism and Conservatism”, Nature Neuroscience, 10: 1246-1247.
  • Bartels, Larry. 1996. “Uninformed Votes: Information Effects in Presidential Elections”, American Journal of Political Science, 40: 194-230.
  • Blais, André, Elisabeth Gidengil, Patrick Fournier & Neil Nevitte. 2009. “Information, Visibility and Elections: Why Electoral Outcomes Differ When Voters Are Better Informed”, European Journal of Political Research, 48: 256-280.
  • Caprara, Gian Vittorio, Claudio Barbaranelli & Philip G. Zimbardo. 1999. “Personality Profiles and Political Parties”, Political Psychology, 20: 175-197.
  • Denny, Kevin, & Orla Doyle. 2008. “Political Interest, Cognitive Ability and Personality: Determinants of Voter Turnout in Britain”, British Journal of Political Science, 38: 291-310.
  • Dodd, Michael, Amanda Balzer, Carly Jacobs, Michael Grusczynszyki, Kevin Smith, & John Hibbing. “The Political Left Rolls with the Good and the Political Right Confronts the Bad: Connecting Physiology and Cognition to Preferences”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 367: 640-649.
  • Druckman, James N., & Rose McDermott. 2008. “Emotions and the Framing of Risky Choice”, Political Behavior, 30: 297-321.
  • Fowler, James H., Laura A. Baker & Christopher T. Dawes. 2008. “Genetic Variation in Political Participation”, American Political Science Review, 102: 233-248.
  • Fowler, James H., & Christopher T. Dawes. 2008. “Two Genes Predict Voter Turnout”, Journal of Politics, 70: 579-594.
  • Fowler, James H., & Cindy D. Kam. 2006. “Patience as a Political Virtue: Delayed Gratification and Turnout”, Political Behavior, 28: 113-128.
  • Healy, Andrew, Neil Malhotra, and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo. 2010. “Irrelevant Events Affect Voters’ Evaluations of Government Performance”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,107(29): 12804-12809.
  • Hermann, Margaret G. 1986. “What is Political Psychology?”, in M. Hermann (ed.), Political Psychology, San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Huddy, Leonie, Stanley Feldman, Charles Taber & Gallya Lahav. 2005. “Threat, Anxiety, and Support of Antiterrorism Policies”, American Journal of Political Science, 49: 593-608.
  • Lodge, Milton, Marco Steenbergen, & Shawn Brau. 1995. “The Responsive Voter: Campaign Information and the Dynamics of Candidate Evaluation”, American Political Science Review, 89: 309-326.
  • Lodge, Milton, & Charles Taber. 2005. “The Automaticity of Affect for Political Leaders, Groups, and Issues: An Experimental Test of the Hot Cognition Hypothesis”, Political Psychology, 26: 455-482.
  • Lupia, Arthur. 1994. “Shortcuts versus Encyclopedias: Information and Voting Behavior in California Insurance Reform Elections”, American Political Science Review, 88: 63-76.
  • Luskin, Robert C., James Fishkin, & Roger Jowell. 2002. “Considered Opinions: Deliberative Polling in Britain”, British Journal of Political Science, 32: 455-487.
  • Marcus, George, W. Russell Neuman & Michael MacKuen. 2000. Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • McQuire, Wiliam J. 1993. “The Poly-Psy Relationship”, in S. Iyengar & W.J. McGuire (eds), Explorations in Political Psychology, Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Milgram, Stanley. 1974. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View, New York: Harper. Chapters 1-11. [Many reprints since 1974]
  • Mondak, Jeffrey J., & Karen D. Halperin. 2008. “A Framework for the Study of Personality and Political Behaviour”, British Journal of Political Science, 38: 335-362.
  • Oxley, Douglas R., Kevin B. Smith, John Alford, Matthew V. Hibbing, Jennifer L. Miller, Mario Scalora, Peter K. Hatemi, & John R. Hibbing. 2008. “Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits”, Science, 321: 1667-1670.
  • Perrin, Andrew J. 2005. “National Threat and Political Culture: Authoritarianism, Antiauthoritarianism, and the September 11 Attacks”, Political Psychology, 26: 167-194.
  • Schreiber, Darren, Greg Fonzo, Alan N. Simmons, Christopher T. Dawes, Taru Flagan, James H. Fowler & Martin P. Paulus. 2013. “Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans”, PLoS One, 8(2): e52970.
  • Settle, Jaime E., Christopher T. Dawes, Nicholas A. Christakis, & James H. Fowler. 2010. “Friendships Moderate an Association between a Dopamine Gene Variant and Political Ideology”, Journal of Politics, 72: 1189-1198.
  • Sniderman, Paul M., Richard A. Brody & Philip E. Tetlock. 1991. Reasoning and Choice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 2.
  • Soroka, Stuart, & Stephen McAdams. 2010. “News, Politics, and Negativity”, CIRANO Scientific Series.
  • Stenner, Karen. 2005. The Authoritarian Dynamic, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 2.
  • Zaller, John, & Stanley Feldman. 1992. “A Simple Theory of the Survey Response: Answering Questions versus revealing preferences”, American Journal of Political Science, 36: 579-616.

 

The lecturer
Patrick Fournier is the principal investigator of the Canadian Election Study for the 2011 and 2015 Canadian federal elections. He was a co-investigator on the CES teams for the 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections. His research interests include political participation, public opinion, voting behavior, citizen competence, opinion change, and survey methodology. His work has been published in journals such as Acta Politica, Canadian Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, and Public Opinion Quarterly. A recent project, the study of Citizens’ Assemblies on Electoral Reform, has resulted in a book examining the potential and limits of citizens’ political capabilities: When Citizens Decide.

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Published Aug. 30, 2018 8:56 AM - Last modified Aug. 30, 2018 8:56 AM