Political Psychology - ECPR

Prof. dr. H. Dekker

Welcome to the home of the Political Psychology Standing Group. Goal of this interdisciplinary effort is to bring together all who share our passion and interest in addressing the psychological aspects of politics.

The Political Psychology Standing Group surveys important areas of current research, focusing on the interrelationships between psychological and political processes. Our aims are:

  • to access the progress and direction of political psychology research in Europe;
  • to give voice and visibility to the needs of the European academics who are studying the field (political scientists, economists, sociologists, psychologists);
  • to support publications in the field;
  • to promote and support attendance to the ECPR meetings;
  • to assist graduate students and young researchers on conducting relevant research;
  • to promote communication among specialists in the field by the creation of a discussion email list;
  • to create a website to host the Standing Group and its activities;
  • to informally circulate papers and research documents for peer review;
  • to organise expert meetings on pivotal topics such as political socialisation, attitude formation and change, decision heuristics and biases, public opinion.

The field of Political Psychology dates from the late 1960s. The Political Psychology section has a solid presence in the major political science conferences in the US, for example APSA and MPSA. In addition, since 1978 the International Society of Political Psychology facilitates communication among scholars across disciplinary, geographic and political boundaries. The Society issues the interdisciplinary journal of Political Psychology. It also organises the Summer Institute in Political Psychology a three-week intensive training program that introduces graduate students and professionals to the world of political psychology scholarship. Political psychology is also present in the WWW via the Political Psychology Google Discussion Group, which investigates psychological aspects of political behaviour and events.

In Europe, Graduate and undergraduate courses under related titles are now taught in leading European universities. Research in the field is flourishing and scholars increasingly need to be brought together to discuss their work. Our initiative to address this need was met with great success in September 2005, at the General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) in Budapest. The Political Psychology Section hosted 40 scholars and 12 panels, with theoretically driven empirical research papers, which examined how citizens feel and think about politics. Some of the pivotal topics addressed were: personality in politics, political ambition and motives, political decision-making, political scandals, political socialisation and political identity development, political marketing, political communication and the Internet, political sophistication, party preferences and identification, political distrust and cynicism, political violence and terrorism, and methodological developments in political psychology.

The above meeting was central in advancing the state of Political Psychology in Europe. Naturally, the progress and direction of this area of research should, as with any academic specialty be assessed periodically. It is for this reason that we consider the Political Psychology Standing Group a vital instrument for the development of this interdisciplinary field.

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Last Modified: 22-07-2011