Summer 2020  |  POL 3766 Section 001: Political Psychology of Mass Behavior (83055)

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
06/08/2020 - 07/31/2020
Off Campus
Virtual Rooms ONLINEONLY
Enrollment Status:
Open (26 of 28 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:

People differ in their political preferences, behaviors, and attitudes. Yet, we are all fundamentally human. In this course, we will learn how essential aspects of human psychology influence people's attitudes and behaviors towards politics. We will explore how personality, emotions, values, and even genetic differences (partly) shape people's political attitudes and behaviors. We will review how these different psychological processes influence our positions on policy issues, our voting decisions, how we process information, and even our preferences towards various forms of government.

We will cover seven broad thematic units. The first unit focuses on the bases of political psychology (theoretical and methodological). The remaining six units will review how psychology influences political attitudes and behaviors, including: personality and other psychological predispositions, genetic factors, core values and morality, emotions, how we process political information, and how we identify with groups in society. During the course, we will apply what we learn in each unit to understand current world events that impact our lives.

The course will be held asynchronously, though we will schedule one or two synchronous weekly (online) meetings to discuss the readings and answer your questions. These sessions are not mandatory but are highly recommended.

Who Should Take This Class?:
There are no pre-requisites for this class.
Learning Objectives:
The main objective of this class is for students to familiarize themselves with how people's personalities, predispositions, emotions, and values influence their attitudes and behaviors in the political world. My goal is for students to understand how psychology plays a crucial role in how we think about politics, how we react to political events, and how we behave in the political arena.
I understand that these are difficult times, so I'll strive to make this class as approachable as possible in order to meet students' needs. I'll also make sure that the online format allows enough flexibility depending on students' resources and schedules.
20% - Short, twitter-style reflections.
20% - Midterm Exam (take-home).
30% - Group project.
30% - Research Paper.
Exam Format:
The Midterm exam will feature multiple-choice and short answer questions (defining key concepts). This exam will also include a short essay question touching on major themes in the course. Students will be able to consult the readings and their notes during the exam. We will review the topics included in the midterm exam so that students have a chance to ask as many questions as they need.
Class Format:
40% lecture, 30% discussion (forum, small groups), 30% in-class activities.
Students are expected to complete a short set of readings about relevant research and concepts prior to each class. Given the current circumstances, I'll aim to make this class flexible enough to meet students' needs.
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
20 May 2020

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