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Political Psychology

Key Information

Module code
ISSU0080
Taught during
Session Two
Module leader
Dr. Lee de-Wit
Pre-requisites
Yes. Please refer to module pre-requisites below.
Assessment method
Multiple-choice examination (50%), Laboratory report (50%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

This module on political psychology will introduce students to the empirical study of political decision making through the lens of psychology and neuroscience. It will explore some of the key individual differences (in personality, moral values and cognitive biases, etc.) that are associated with different political views, and explore some of the key psychological mechanisms (cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, cognitive heuristics etc.) that influence how we vote. The module will also explore the broader cognitive neuroscience of political decision making, including differences in genetics, brain structure and brain activity associated with different patterns of voting. The module will focus on quantitative research, and develop hands on skills in analysing data using open source software.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Understand the range of individual differences that predict political preferences
  • Understand some of the psychological mechanisms that influence political decision making
  • Understand how genetics and neuroscience can contribute to our understanding of political decision making
  • Have developed a conceptual understanding for empirical methods in studying political decision making
  • Have developed hands on statistical analysis skills using R Studio

Module prerequisites

This is a level two module (equivalent to second year undergraduate). In addition to the standard UCL Summer School entry criteria, applicants will be expected to have experience with quantitative research methods (in the form of a first year module in statistical research methods)

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.

Assessment

  • Multiple-choice examination (50%)
  • Laboratory report (50%)

Module leader

Lee de-Wit teaches neuroscience and political psychology at UCL. He has a background in experimental psychology and neuroscience. He studied at the University of Bristol, and Durham University, and has worked at the University of Leuven, the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford. His current research focuses on individual differences in beliefs and cognitive biases underpinning differences in attitudes towards immigration and capitalism.

Application information

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