Political science, Psychology

This course is co-sponsored by the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP)


Course date

4 July - 13 July, 2016
Application for this course is closed.
Course Director(s): 

Levente Littvay

Department of Political Science / Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Nebojša Blanuša

Department of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Ryan Carlin

Department of Political Science, Georgia State University, Atlanta, United States

Zsolt Enyedi

Department of Political Science, CEU, Budapest, Hungary

Steven van Hauwaert

Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain-Europe, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Kirk Hawkins

Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, United States

Erin Jenne

International Relations and European Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Jennifer McCoy

Department of Political Science, Georgia State University, Atlanta, United States

Matthew Singer

Department of Political Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, United States
Political psychology is the study of political behaviour of individuals and groups in the context of what we know about human psychological characteristics. It is a discipline at the intersection of political science and psychology and includes research on various topics, such as the formation and change of political attitudes and ideologies and how these relate to political behaviour (e.g. voting or political participation more broadly), the formation of group identities and intergroup conflict, including nationalism and extremism, ethnic identities, gender roles and many other essential and problematic areas of our social and political existence. All of these topics concern the attitudes, ideas and belief systems – ideologies – that people hold and which thus structure political behaviour.
The substantive focus of this specific course is a political issue that has pressing importance in our days, all across Europe and the Americas: populism. Our first aim is to introduce students to a quickly developing field of research, that of studying how a preference for populist and anti-politics discourses can be understood at a psychological level, mostly, but not exclusively, through the use of surveys and experiments. Second, we wish to help developing students' research skills by providing room for hands-on activities where participants engage with designing and carrying on research on such topics using the methods taught in the course. Third, we also intend to continue growing the political psychology and populism research communities in CEE, giving participants a chance to interact with top-level scholars in these areas, from Europe and America. The course features seminars on methods and substantive topics on populism, round table discussions on publishing and grant writing, practical research design and implementation workshops, students' own project presentations, and a day with lecture and workshop specifically on policy implications, to help students who are looking for ways to see their research have a direct impact on politics and decision-making.