Psychology 490 - Political Psychology

Fall Term, 1999

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

David G. Winter

Office: 3267 East Hall
Office Hours: Th (1-3)
Phone: 647-3952

Lecture Sylllabus

Elisabeth Wright, GSI

Discussion Syllabus

 This course examines different ways in which psychological factors affect political behavior (and vice versa).

After an initial discussion of the underlying dimensions of political and social behavior, and the usefulness of the concept of "gender" as a lens for analysis, we consider the psychological aspects of two major political phenomena - leadership and war. Next we examine ways of measuring "at a distance" the psychological characteristics of political leaders and groups, who cannot be studied directly. Then we examine psychological perspectives on several political processes: socialization (or learning about politics), ideology, political cognition, the mass media, political participation and commitment, and some psychological aspects of policymaking. Finally, we consider psychological aspects of rebellion, violence and terrorism, nationalism and ethnic conflict (threats to the political system), and negotiation and mediation (restoring the political system).

An introductory psychology course is a prerequisite, and a course (or strong interest) in history or political science is recommended.

Course requirements include: (1) attending lectures and weekly discussion sections (including some brief section assignments TBA), (2) an hour exam on October 26, (3) a term paper due at the beginning of class on December 9 (Assignment Description), and (4) a scheduled final exam on December 15. The final will count 35% toward your final grade, the paper 30%, the hour exam 20%, and section participation and assignments 15%.

Materials that might be of use for term papers:

To get an idea as to the format of the exams, copies of the following hour/final exams and review questions are available:

Book to be purchased (available at Shaman Drum Bookstore, 313 S. State St.):

Readings not in the books to be purchased: