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Political psychology


About the course

Important dates and deadlines

Course period: 27 October - 28 November 2023
Application deadline: 28 September 2023

Click here to apply. 


This doctoral course deals with theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of political psychology. Political psychology is an interdisciplinary subject which focuses on applying what is known about human psychology to the study of politics.

This course starts out with an overview of various theoretical approaches that have provided the basis for the field, for example, theories focusing on social identity and personality. The main part of the course focuses on applied subjects within political psychology, centering on understanding why individuals make certain decisions and behave a certain way. The course for example discusses the psychology underlying political polarization and radicalization. 

The course will deal with questions such as:

  • How do personality traits influence political behavior?
  • Why are some party supporters hostile toward another party’s supporters?
  • Why do some individuals become radicalized?
  • How do destructive leaders interact with their followers?
  • How do leaders’ perceptions and beliefs influence foreign policy decisions?

Course information

Course coordinators
Hanna Bäck and Magnus Lindén

Course administrator
Marjaana Kinnunen

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Course syllabus (PDF 7 kB)
Reading list (PDF 53 kB)

Course schedule