This course will explore psychological approaches to understanding political beliefs, attitudes, and actions at the levels of both individual citizens and national leaders.
It will also explore the possibility that psychological science itself is not immune to the political debates swirling around it. Specific topics will include:
the workings of belief systems (and their power to shape what we "see"), cognitive biases (and their power to cause miscalculations), sacred values and their role in
stabilizing belief systems and social interaction, personality and ideology (the linkages between the personal and the political), and clashing conceptions of morality
and distributive and corrective justice (striking variations among people in what they consider to be fair). We shall also explore some topics that have sparked controversy
in the psychological research literature and that tend to polarize opinion along political lines, including work on intelligence and unconscious bias.