The Psychology of Politics

The world of politics reflects human nature in all its rational and irrational glory. How we govern ourselves and make decisions, use and often abuse power, reflect our deepest fears at least as much as our aspirations and ideals. Because many of the world's biggest problems are behavioral in nature, policies, to be successful, must grapple with our innermost attitudes.

Recent posts on Politics

Men Need Not Apply

What message is EMILY’s List sending to progressive men who aspire to run for office? What does the growing preference for hiring females say to our sons?

The Greatest Lesson of Love--Taught By Donald Trump

By Ken Page L.C.S.W. on December 12, 2017 in Finding Love
This is the most urgent lesson of love: Stay away from toxic relationships. When we ignore that lesson, we marry misery. Which is precisely what is happening in our country.

Our Divided America

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on December 11, 2017 in Theory of Knowledge
We need to face fully the divide in this country and use the principles of family therapy to move in a new and more productive direction.
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Why Do Some Men Engage in Sexual Exhibitionism?

By Michael Bader D.M.H. on December 10, 2017 in What Is He Thinking?
One of the weirdest sexual behaviors exhibited by some of the men busted for sexual harassment is masturbating in front of a woman (e.g. Louis C.K.). The real cause is anxiety.
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What Sexual Harrassment Does to All of Us

By Elizabeth Young on December 10, 2017 in Adaptations
That’s a weird sentence, so I’m going to repeat it for emphasis.  I am privileged: I have never been threatened, assaulted, or raped. 
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Arguing Politics with Friends? One Word Makes a Difference

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on December 09, 2017 in Off the Couch
This little word can change how you approach political conversations with friends, family, and anyone else in your life.

How President Trump's Lies Are Different From Other People's

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on December 09, 2017 in Living Single
I thought Trump would be more self-serving in his lies than most other people. He was. But that wasn’t what stood out most about his ways of lying.

How to Avoid War with North Korea

Is war with North Korea inevitable? Psychology offers crucial insights.

A Game-Changer for Difficult Holiday Dinner Conversations

Dreading spending the holidays with relatives whose politics you can't stand? Doing this one thing is a game-changer.

Kids, Would You Please Lower Your Weapons?

With authoritarians on both the Right and the Left dominating political discourse, it's tough (and sometimes unsafe) for the sensible center to get a word in edgewise.

Judicial Notebook: Racism in Jury Deliberations

In October 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases that explore the extent to which racial bias can be remedied when it infects jury deliberations.

Another Kind of Game Changer

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Ambigamy
Gaslighting suggests a third meaning of the term game changer.

What You Can Learn From Those Dreadful Public Apologies

Have you noticed that the public apologies making headlines these days are empty, vague, minimizing, obfuscating, and self-serving?

5 Ways Intimate Partner Violence Research Informs #MeToo

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on December 03, 2017 in ExperiMentations
High-profile cases raise awareness of gender-based sexual violence. Research on perpetrators of domestic violence tells us what we may need to do to prevent future aggression.

Mandatory Implicit Bias Training Is a Bad Idea

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on December 02, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
Mandatory implicit bias training is all the rage. And seriously counterproductive.

How to Teach Kids About Civic Engagement

By Amber A. Hewitt Ph.D. on December 01, 2017 in You, Empowered
How can parents promote civic education and engagement?

Coping With Collective Trauma

By Joy Jacobs J.D., Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in One More Bite
Has the state of the world left you feeling off balance? These simple strategies will bring you back to center.

Alabamians Should Not Vote for Roy Moore

By Michael W. Austin Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Ethics for Everyone
What could a Republican pro-life candidate do to disqualify him or her from office in the minds of philosopher Tully Borland and others who share his view? Anything?
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You Can Love Your Country and Still Take a Knee

We are more divided than ever. The controversy over "taking a knee" and honoring our country reflects how we confuse signs and symbols. Here's a better way to think about it.

And Now Matt Lauer...Why Celebrities Get Sexually Aggressive

TV's Matt Lauer today joined the club of men in high positions who are being accused of sexual improprieties with women at work. What could he have been thinking? Here's what.

The Politics of Memory

By Robert N. Kraft Ph.D. on November 29, 2017 in Defining Memories
The perfect Pinocchio test does not yet exist, but we can use principles of memory (and forgetting) to distinguish between memory errors and deliberate deception.

In Search of Constructive Conversations

Initiate, be humble, listen, find common ground, be cool, think big, keep it short, and end on a positive note.

Roy Moore and Sexual Abuse of Young Women

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 29, 2017 in The Human Beast
Conservative politicians seem compelled by a malicious elf to behave in ways that expose their rabid hypocrisies in public.

#MeToo: Insights From Psychological Theory and Research

The psychological and physical impact of sexual harassment on its victims is damaging and often long-lasting. #MeToo has rekindled questions about why and when it occurs.

The Human Ape

By Rebecca Coffey on November 29, 2017 in The Bejeezus Out of Me
When it comes to sexual politics, why do even the good guys act like apes?

Art Therapy's HeARTache

Sometimes a spotlight illuminates; at other times, it blinds. Art therapists are experiencing both through a White House spotlight called "Healing with the HeArt."

Living With Know-It-All Hypocrites Will Stunt Your Growth

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 28, 2017 in Ambigamy
We leave bullies because they're immoral or just bad company. We should also leave them because they make it hard to admit to and learn from our errors.

How Militarism is Changing America's Identity

By Ray Williams on November 28, 2017 in Wired for Success
U.S. military dominance and the diminishing influence of civilian control reinforced by growing authoritarianism should be cause for alarm in America.

For World AIDS Day: Claiming Our Community's Power

By John-Manuel Andriote on November 28, 2017 in Stonewall Strong
There is strength, and resilience, in community. Gay men in the AIDS epidemic built an awesome community.

When a College Education Makes Things Worse

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on November 28, 2017 in Mental Mishaps
What if a college education makes things worse? Should we worry about the value of education in the post-truth world?