Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC3148: Political Psychology and Society

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

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

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • An Introduction to Political Psychology & Mass Decision-Making
    Key concepts in political psychology

  • Political Socialization
    Where do political attitudes come from?
    How stable are political attitudes?

  • Obedience and Authoritarianism
    The Milgram experiments
    Theories of authoritarianism and their implications for democratic citizenship

  • Atrocities
    From Norman atrocities to the present day. What makes ordinary people participate in atrocities?

  • Terrorism
    Is there a ‘terrorist personality’?

  • Racism
    How can political psychologists measure racism?
    What causes racism?
    Stereotype threat and the effects of racism on its targets

  • Tolerance
    Theories of political tolerance and the implications of intolerance

  • Affect and Emotion
    Traditional views of the detrimental effects of affect on decision-making
    Contemporary views of ‘affective intelligence’ and the role of emotion in rational decision-making

  • Media
    How do individuals process information from media?
    What are the effects of media? Looking at agenda setting, priming, and framing. Misinformation.

  • Participation, Deliberation and Influence of Peers
    Deliberative polls, explanation of their effects, and what they imply
    Why people vote and the influence of social pressure

  • Neuroscience and Genetics
    The neuroscientific turn in political psychology. The promise and limitation of fMRI
    Contemporary research into genetic influences on political attitudes and behaviours and its implications for political psychology

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 Teaching2211 x 2 hour seminar
Guided Independent Study128Private study – reading and preparing for seminars (around 6 hours of reading and note-taking per seminar); researching and writing essay (around 45 hours researching, planning and writing each essay). Around 17 hours researching, planning, and describing the experiment.

Online Resources

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