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BSPO 1700A - Political Psychology and Public Opinion

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English


No prerequisites are required for this class.

Course Description

The objective of the course is to introduce undergraduate students to the psychological processes that underlie the public's political decision-making. The course is designed to provide a versatile theoretical framework for the comprehension of the dynamics, depth and complexity of public opinion. Furthermore, the course aims at developing students' analytical skills to draw on theoretical resources for the comprehension of political events, trends in public opinion and electoral outcomes. The course will draw on classic and contemporary readings from political psychology to introduce students to divergent theoretical approaches to the study of political behavior. Students will be invited to critically engage the question of how citizens make political judgments and explore the merits and limitations of different theoretical and methodological perspectives. Questions that will be examined in the course include: What is the relationship between personality and politics? What is ideology and how is it formed? What do citizens know about politics? How do citizens decide on complex political issues for which they lack information? Under which conditions do political attitudes change? How do emotions affect our political opinions? The overall aim of the course will be to introduce, rather than exhaust the above themes. Students are invited to apply theoretical tools from political psychology to broader political science issues such as political participation, political communication and European integration. Students will be required to actively participate: they will undertake a written assignment relating abstract theoretical ideas with current events and their own experiences and they will be expected to debate different theoretical perspectives and their criticisms in class.


  • GEORGARAKIS, George N. (Etudiant doctorant)
  • VASILOPOULOS, Pavlos (Assistant de recherche)

Pedagogical format

The class will be in the form of a standard lecture.

Course validation

Grades will be determined by the weighted average of a) one written assignment (50%) b) one written exam (30%) c) the two highest grades from four quizzes (20%). Student participation in class gives a bonus of up to one point.


One article (or book chapter) per week.

Required reading

  • Glynn, C.J., Herbst, S., O'Keefe G.J., Shapiro, R.Y. and M. Lindeman. (2004). Public Opinion (2nd edition)
  • Jost, J. and Sidanius, J. (2004). Political Psychology: Key Readings. New York: Psychology Press