Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC2041: The Political Psychology of Elites

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

1. An Introduction to Political Psychology & Elite Decision-Making

Key concepts in political psychology; research designs and elite decision-making

2. Personality and Elite Decision-Making

i. James David Barber’s theory of presidential personality

ii. Other prominent theories of elite personality, e.g., trait analysis

3. Group processes and Elite Decision-Making

i. Groupthink

ii. Critiques and extensions of Groupthink

4. Analogical Reasoning in Foreign Policy Decision-Making

i. Khong’s theory of analogical reasoning in the Vietnam War

ii. Critiques and extensions of analogical reasoning in decision-making

5. Prospect Theory and Elite Decision-Making

i. The foundations of prospect theory

ii. Applications of prospect theory to foreign policy decisions

6. Hybrid Theories of Elite Decision-Making

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 22The module will be taught through 11 weekly 1 hour lectures and 11 weekly seminars (starting week 1) in which we discuss the topic and materials
Guided Independent study128Private study – reading and preparing for lectures and seminars (around 6 hours of reading and note-taking per week); researching and writing essay (around 47 hours researching, planning and writing each essay). Around 15 hours researching, planning, and writing the 1000 word analysis of a topic.

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

ELE – http://vle.exeter.ac.uk/