We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Political Psychology

Neuroscience, Genetics, and Politics

George E. Marcus

Publication Date - July 2012

ISBN: 9780195370645

336 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $59.95

This innovative text helps students use political psychology to answer questions about politics in everyday life


In Political Psychology: Neuroscience, Genetics, and Politics, scholar George Marcus provides a cutting-edge introduction that discusses the field's origins, evolution, and possibilities. Offering context that other texts typically omit, this unique volume includes a historical account of the ideas that underpin political psychology--ranging from Ancient Greece, through the Enlightenment, to today--thereby highlighting the deep intellectual roots and continuous vitality of the field. The book also looks at emerging trends in the discipline, integrating an "inside-out" perspective that analyzes how neuroscience, cognitive science, and genetics apply to politics. In addition to opening up new areas of inquiry, this approach gives students new conceptual, theoretical, and methodological tools that they can use to seek out new answers to old questions.

An ideal text for upper-level undergraduate courses in political psychology or as a supplement in political behavior, public opinion, and political communications courses, Political Psychology focuses on teaching the essential skills involved in making credible political psychology explanations: creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. Exercises throughout enable students to practice and master these skills and to "learn by doing."

About the Author(s)

George E. Marcus is Professor of Political Science at Williams College and Councilor of the International Society of Political Psychology. He is the author of numerous books and articles on political tolerance, emotion, and politics.


"Political Psychology is the right book at the right time by the right author. It will not only be useful for existing courses, but, at least in my case, also help in the creation of new ones."--Eric Dickson, NYU

"This book seems to be a bridge from the cognitive to the political, which is something that is desperately needed in the field of political psychology."--Ted Brader, University of Michigan

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. The Importance of Political Psychology
    The Field of Political Psychology
    The Social Organization of Political Psychology
    The Core Concerns of Political Psychology
    The Usefulness of Taxonomies
    Human Nature and Human Politics
    Doing Political Psychology
    Explanation in Political Psychology
    Description and Explanation in Political Psychology
    Plan of the Book
    Chapter 2. A Brief Methodology Primer for Political Psychologists
    Explanations as Persuasion or Justification, and Explanation as Knowledge
    Generating Explanations: Theorizing
    Getting Observations: Data, Sampling, and Generalization
    Surveys: Samples from a Population of Interest
    Other Data Collection Methodologies
    Measuring Concepts: Measurement Theory
    Forms of Relationships
    Chapter 3. A Short History of a Long Tradition
    Understanding Premodern Conceptions of Time
    Understanding Modern Time
    Emotion and Reason Shaping Political Psychology
    The Modern Dilemma: The Unexpected Trajectory of Progress
    Chapter 4. Neuroscience and Political Psychology
    Neuroscience and Time
    Neuroscience and Knowledge
    Neuroscience and Action
    Psychology and Knowledge
    Valence Conception
    Discrete, or Appraisal Conceptions
    Dimensional Conceptions
    Chapter 5. Brain and Conscious Mind
    The Psychology of Mind and Brain
    Split Brain Experiments
    Time and Brain Functions
    A Provisional Beginning: The Theory of Affective Intelligence
    The Politics of Mind and Brain
    Chapter 6. Political Action: The Uses and Limits of the Mind
    The Limits of the Mind, the Blind Spot of Political Psychology
    An Overview of Preconscious Appraisal and Action
    Political Psychology Wrestles with the Unconscious
    The Preconscious and Politics
    Dual Process Models: Brain and Mind
    Chapter 7. Personality and Political Psychology
    A Very Brief Historical Introduction to Personality
    Personality as Taxonomy: Personality as Types
    The Four Humors
    Modern Research on Personality
    Personality in Psychobiography
    Personality in Political Psychology
    Four Limitations of Trait Conceptions of Personality
    Neuroscience and Personality
    Pathology and Research Agenda of Personality in Political Psychology
    Political Psychology and Personality Going Forward
    Suggested Readings
    Chapter 8. Political Psychology and Democratic Politics
    How Do We Know?
    How Do We Manage?: Dual Process Models
    Moral Judgment
    Free Will
    The Special Challenge of Manipulation
    Rethinking Core Conceptions
    Critical books and articles exploring biological sources of variation in personality
    Gene Environment Interactions
    Motor Action (behavior)
    Seminal Pieces regarding Genes and Political Attitudes
    Applications to Political Psychology: Selected Examples
    Developmental Psychology
    Early Seminal Work on Personality
    Some Primers: Evolutionary Accounts & Probabilistic Epigenesis
    Affective Neuroscience
    Early Basics
    Recent Basics
    Consciousness and Preconsciousness
    Social Neuroscience
    Behavioral Development
    Neural Development
    Decision Neuroscience
    Chapter 9. Using the Past and Present to Live in the Future: A Brief Reprise
    Explaining Human Decision Making: Context
    Context in Political Philosophy
    Context in Psychology
    A Preliminary Consideration of Authority and Context in Politics
    A Provisional Psychological Taxonomy of Context
    Assessing the Empirical Story
    The Normative Story
    Affect and Context
    A Taxonomy of Context or a Taxonomy of Contexts
    Chapter 10. Conclusion: Political Psychology and Politics
    The Limitations of Political Psychology
    An Agenda for Political Psychology (Redux)
    Political Psychology for the Young Scholar
    Choosing Research Topics
    Political Psychology for the Citizen