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

Evergreen College, the Rejection Complex, and Bullying

Evergreen State College was recently in turmoil. There were accusations of racism and bullying along with threats and a show of riot police. What's underneath the hysteria?

The U.S. Is Not Doing Well Socially

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on June 24, 2017 in Side Effects
The U.S. shows growing signs of being an unhappy, divided country, according to a string of indexes measuring national happiness and well-being.

Where Have All Our Values Gone?

America's progressive values, long a beacon of light the world over, are in danger of deteriorating as selfishness and incivility are prominent in public discourse and behavior.

Mountain Lions Flee Political Talk While People Listen

Mountain lions flee from the voices of political opinionators, according to a study published on June 21. Consider the possible stress that may be inflicted on human listeners.

Hating the Elite

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in The Human Beast
Many deride the wealthy elite as symbols of inequality in democratic societies supposedly founded on equality. Why do people hate them so much?

Media Framing Effects

In light of a recent wave of acts of mass violence, it is timely to revisit scholarly work identifying when the media uses the term 'terrorism' and its potential effects.

Free Speech and Thought on Campus

Whatever one's views are concerning politics, ethics, and religion, we should engage in discussion, dialogue, and debate about these issues.

Beliefs: Twelve Myths You'll Be Relieved to Debunk

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 20, 2017 in Ambigamy
Getting realistic about beliefs can go a long way toward peace of mind and better decision-making.
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Globalization and Work: Have We Learned Anything Yet?

Free trade raises GDP but has its losers as well as its winners. It’s time to exchange the “winners could compensate losers” slogan for a “winners must compensate losers” policy.

Your Right to an Opinion Does Not Make Your Opinion Valid

By Cortney S. Warren Ph.D. on June 19, 2017 in Naked Truth
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But not all opinions are equally valuable.

Would People Agree About Everything If We Paid Them?

By Rob Henderson on June 19, 2017 in After Service
Do people change their minds about facts if they're paid? Research suggests the answer is yes.

Pathological Resistance to Change Does Not Make Us Great

Looking backwards won't make us great. We need innovation to tackle big problems like energy outages and their impact on the elderly. Our collective resilience depends on it.

Why Does the Religious Right Hate Your Birth Control?

By Marty Klein PhD on June 19, 2017 in Sexual Intelligence
Scripture doesn't mention birth control. So why are many religious people against it—for you?

A Behavioral Science Solution to Lies in Politics

Tired of lies in politics? Here's a way to address the problem.

Comedy as Church

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 15, 2017 in Ambigamy
Comedy, like art or religion can be a chance for us to commune together in our unrequitable quest for relief from the messiness of life.

Study Shows a Bias for Evidence of What We Want to Be True

New experimental findings suggest that we seek and stress corroborating evidence based on what we desire.

The Root of All Evil

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 12, 2017 in Ambigamy
Doubt is excruciating. No wonder most if not all of us find alluring some simple permanent formula that supposedly alleviates it once and for all.

Psychologists Hold the Future of Democracy in Their Hands

By Guest Blogger on June 12, 2017 in The Guest Room
It's up to psychologists to explain how leaders with a disordered personality pose a threat to society.

Mere Anarchy Is Loose

By Judith Eve Lipton M.D. on June 12, 2017 in Peace and War
The Resistance will take a long time. Use creative energy to keep it lively and lovely.

What Would Gandhi Do About Trump?

The science of wisdom can help us deal with turbulent political times!

The Art (and Psychology) of the Handshake

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on June 10, 2017 in BrainSnacks
One of the many forms of amusement offered to observers of U.S. President Donald Trump is the "power handshake," also known colloquially as the "alpha" handshake.

Two Very Different Ways to 'Man Up' in American Politics

By Ryan P. Brown Ph.D. on June 10, 2017 in Honor Bound
How a concern with honor nearly derailed a candidate for Congress and empowered a Southern mayor.

How Terrorism Changes Us

By David B. Feldman Ph.D. on June 09, 2017 in Supersurvivors
The London Bridge attack is the latest terror incident to rock the UK in the past 10 weeks. How are acts of terror changing us?

The Three Hounds of Hell

Three forces deplete our well-being and that of our communities and countries.

Ariana Grande, I Wish You Were Our President!

By Aldo Civico Ph.D. on June 07, 2017 in Turning Point
After an attack at the end of her concerts in Manchester, Ariana Grande chose to respond with compassion and courage, showing the quality of authentic leadership, needed today.

Why Social Stigma Matters (Children's Edition)

Children are invoking Trump while engaging in bigoted harassment of classmates. What does this tell us about the role the current political climate plays in shaping our behavior?

Why Washington's Mixed Messages Are Dangerous

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on June 07, 2017 in Time Out
Liberty thrives in a society that trusts and has confidence in the integrity of its institutions. Whatever erodes public trust in our institutions diminishes our liberty.
Wikimedia Commons

Stress Is Not Trauma

If you experienced a stressful event, is that the same as a traumatic event? The distinction is important, and one's beliefs about it may depend on one's motivations.

The End of Guilt

Has shame taken over from guilt as the marker of American culture? Or was guilt never very important in the first place?
Illustration aus Amelius Erörterung der dunckelsten und schwersten Schrifft-Stellen/Wikimedia Commons

Sacrifices, Sacrificial Lambs, and Scapegoats

Mythic origins and contemporary examples of human sacrifice both real and symbolic.