Political Psychology : Situations, Individuals, and Cases book cover
2nd Edition

Political Psychology
Situations, Individuals, and Cases

ISBN 9780415833820
Published August 25, 2014 by Routledge
340 Pages

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Book Description

What shapes political behavior more: the situations in which individuals find themselves, or the internal psychological makeup---beliefs, values, and so on---of those individuals? This is perhaps the leading division within the psychological study of politics today. Political Psychology: Situations, Individuals, and Cases, 2nd edition, provides a concise, readable, and conceptually organized introduction to the topic of political psychology by examining this very question. Using this situationism--dispositionism framework—which roughly parallels the concerns of social and cognitive psychology—this book focuses on such key explanatory mechanisms as behaviorism, obedience, personality, groupthink, cognition, affect, emotion, and neuroscience to explore topics ranging from voting behavior and racism to terrorism and international relations. The new edition includes a new chapter on the psychology of the media and communication. Houghton has also updated the text to analyze recent political events such as the 2012 election, and to include up-and-coming research in the areas of neuroscience, behavioral economics, and more. Houghton's clear and engaging examples directly challenge students to place themselves in both real and hypothetical situations which involve intense moral and political dilemmas. This highly readable text will provide students with the conceptual foundation they need to make sense of the rapidly changing and increasingly important field of political psychology.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1. Two Conceptual Schemes or Distinctions. 2. A Brief History of the Discipline. PART I: The Situation. 3. Behaviorism and Human Freedom. 4. The Psychology of Obedience. 5. Creating a "Bad Barrel". 6. Group Decision-Making. PART II: The Individual. 7. Psychobiography. 8. Personality and Beliefs. 9. Cognition. 10. Affect and Emotion. 11. Neuropolitics, Biopolitics and Genopolitics. PART III: Bringing the Two Together. 12. The Psychology of Voting Behavior. 13. The Psychology of Political Communication, Persuasion and the Mass Media. 14. The Psychology of Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Genocide. 15. The Psychology of Racism and Political Intolerance. 16. The Psychology of Terrorism. 17. The Psychology of International Security. 18. The Future of Political Psychology.

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David Patrick Houghton is Senior Lecturer in Defence Studies at the Department of Defence Studies at King's College London.


"This is my clear first choice as the text for my upper division Political Psychology course. Covering all the main topics, it both describes the main theories and seminal research but also explores relevant policy and normative implications clearly and fairly."
—Jack Citrin, University of California, Berkeley

"Houghton’s highly accessible text has been the foundation of my upper level undergraduate political psychology class for years. It is concise, yet broad in its coverage of topics and students can appreciate the ‘situations and dispositions’ framework. The new edition offers a reader-friendly, yet sophisticated update that includes topics such as racism, terrorism, and neuroscience—illustrative of this rapidly evolving field. I highly recommend this book to help guide students in understanding the varying and complex influences on political behavior."
—Rebecca Hannagan, Northern Illinois University

"This second edition of Houghton’s Political Psychology easily places the book as the new standard text for introductory courses as well as general reading for both practicing and lay social scientists. The book is well written, engaging, and informative, and explains the psychology of the political world for what it is: a complex relationship between individuals and the political situations in which they find themselves."
—David C. Wilson, University of Delaware