Summer 2021  |  POL 3766 Section 001: Political Psychology of Mass Behavior (81633)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
Completely Online
Class Attributes:
UMNTC Liberal Education Requirement
Online Course
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
06/07/2021 - 07/30/2021
Mon, Wed 09:00AM - 11:30AM
Off Campus
Enrollment Status:
Open (0 of 25 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
How political behavior of citizens and political elites is shaped by psychological factors, including personality, attitudes, values, emotions, and cognitive sophistication. Political activism/apathy, leadership charisma, mass media, group identifications, political culture.
Class Notes:
Class Description:

We recently witnessed many forms of political violence related to the murder of George Floyd, COVID-19, and the Presidential election in our neighborhoods, in the Capitol, and across the states. What can explain such mass behavior? Why is the country so politically polarized and divided, and why has it become so difficult to understand each other when they have different political ideology and beliefs? Where do such differing views originate from? How do we come to decide our positions on major policy issues and identify ourselves as liberals or conservatives?

This course will introduce you to the interdisciplinary field of political psychology. We will learn key concepts and theories from social psychology and explore how personality, emotions, morality, genetic differences, and partisanship among others influence people's attitudes and behaviors towards politics. This course is organized around six broad themes: (1) Evolutionary psychology and biopolitics, (2) Emotions and motivated reasoning, (3) Morality, (4) Race and Gender, (5) Authoritarianism, and (6) Collective violence.

Who Should Take This Class?:
There are no pre-requisites for this class.
Learning Objectives:
By the end of the semester, you should be able to:

1. Understand the key concepts and theories of social psychology and how they are applied to explain people's political behavior.

2. Critically analyze the possible causes of political polarization, mass violence, and anxiety escalating during the pandemic.

3. Formulate a research question, develop hypotheses, and elaborate arguments with supporting evidence.




Short 2-page reaction papers (4 total, 5% each)


Group discussion leading


Final paper


Exam Format:
There is no midterm exam. A final paper will replace final exam.
Class Format:
50% lecture, 50% discussion

In addition to regular class attendance and completion of the assigned reading, students are expected to come to class, prepared to lead and participate in discussions with peers. On average, two articles are assigned per class, and two to three book chapters for a collaborative group work. *Note that all of the readings, articles and books, are accessible online via UMN library.

Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
27 February 2021

ClassInfo Links - Summer 2021 Political Science Classes

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