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POLI-1007EL Study Guide - Quiz Guide: The Authoritarian Personality, Political Psychology, Voting Behavior

Political Science / Science politique
Course Code
Michael Johns
Study Guide

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Social Environmental Psychology Social Psychology and the Study of Politics“
Apply knowledge of human psychology to politics
Political leaders
o Big 5
Political orientation
Right → high on openness
Left → high on conscientiousness
Researchers assessed the personality of all American presidents by asking
other people about them
They found that “greatness” was correlated with openness
But generally there is no relationship between personality and leadership
o Profiling political leaders
Using content analysis
Looking at motives of achievement, affiliation and power
Popularity of a leader was determined by the match of the leader’s
and the society’s motives
The power motive was correlated with greatness
Looking at the concept of operational code
It refers to the leader’s belief system about how the world operates
These codes influence the political system
Crusaders as leaders are more likely for extreme, conflict-seeking activities in
the international area
o Crisis decision making
This is when political leadership matters the most
It not only depends on the leader’s personality but also on public opinion
and the leader’s advisors
Public opinion is easier to mobilize for aggressive action than conciliatory
action. Therefore decision makers are more vulnerable domestically than in
conflict situations → prospect theory
Can be understood by expected utility theory where one weighs the benefits
and costs of alternatives to choose the option with the highest utility
According to prospect theory decision makers deviate from utility theory
when they want to prevent potential losses; this is done by taking higher
o Groupthink
Political leaders are also influenced by those who surround them
Under some circumstances groups make poor decisions
High group cohesion
Isolation from outside influences
Directive leadership
This leads to
Limited alternatives (usually 2)
No critical assessment of decision
Expert information is not paid much attention
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