418 research outputs found

    POLS: 450: Research in Biology, Psychology, and Politics—A Peer Review of Teaching Project Benchmark Portfolio

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    This benchmark course portfolio provides an overview of student learning in Research in Biology, Psychology, and Politics (Political Science 450). This is an upper-level undergraduate course focused on training students to conduct research in the interdisciplinary area of political psychology. Enrollment in the course is primarily advanced political science majors, or students from related majors (i.e., psychology) with an interest in politics. This course focuses on developing understanding of research methods and application of appropriate methods to small group research projects. In addition, the course helps to improve student confidence in ability to engage in the research process and understand research encountered outside of class. In this portfolio, course objectives are measured against classroom performance data and student self-reported confidence in understanding and conducting research over the course of the semester. Results show that most students performed well in the course and confidence in both areas increased from the beginning to the end of the semester. Future plans for the course are discussed

    POLS: 450: Research in Biology, Psychology, and Politics—A Peer Review of Teaching Project Benchmark Portfolio

    Get PDF
    This benchmark course portfolio provides an overview of student learning in Research in Biology, Psychology, and Politics (Political Science 450). This is an upper-level undergraduate course focused on training students to conduct research in the interdisciplinary area of political psychology. Enrollment in the course is primarily advanced political science majors, or students from related majors (i.e., psychology) with an interest in politics. This course focuses on developing understanding of research methods and application of appropriate methods to small group research projects. In addition, the course helps to improve student confidence in ability to engage in the research process and understand research encountered outside of class. In this portfolio, course objectives are measured against classroom performance data and student self-reported confidence in understanding and conducting research over the course of the semester. Results show that most students performed well in the course and confidence in both areas increased from the beginning to the end of the semester. Future plans for the course are discussed

    The Impact of Uncertainty, Threat, and Political Identity on Support for Political Compromise

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    This work examines the impact of uncertainty and threat on support for political compromise. In Study 1, uncertainty, threat, and support for compromise were measured. Uncertainty increased support for compromise only when paired with positive or neutral affect. Studies 2 and 3 used an experimental design to examine the impact of incidental affect on support for political compromise as a function of political identification. Uncertainty was more likely to increase support for compromise in positive or neutral contexts and for political moderates and liberals. The combination of uncertainty and threat led conservatives to express reduced support for compromise

    The Impact of Uncertainty, Threat, and Political Identity on Support for Political Compromise

    Get PDF
    This work examines the impact of uncertainty and threat on support for political compromise. In Study 1, uncertainty, threat, and support for compromise were measured. Uncertainty increased support for compromise only when paired with positive or neutral affect. Studies 2 and 3 used an experimental design to examine the impact of incidental affect on support for political compromise as a function of political identification. Uncertainty was more likely to increase support for compromise in positive or neutral contexts and for political moderates and liberals. The combination of uncertainty and threat led conservatives to express reduced support for compromise

    Mass Political Behavior

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    Mass political behavior is the study of how average citizens form and express opinions about politics and decide how to engage with the political system through voting or other forms of political participation. Political scientists interested in mass political behavior have drawn on a variety of disciplinary approaches to understand the topic, including history, economics, sociology, and more recently, psychology, biology, and neuroscience. Political psychologists interested in understanding mass political behavior have applied social psychological theories of attitudes, emotion, social cognition, and social identity to help improve our understanding of political behavior. This entry provides a brief overview of how psychology has been used to study public opinion, voting behavior, and political participation

    Perceived Threat Associated with Police Officers and Black Men Predicts Support for Policing Policy Reform

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    Racial disparities in policing and recent high-profile incidents resulting in the deaths of Black men have ignited a national debate on policing policies. Given evidence that both police officers and Black men may be associated with threat, we examined the impact of perceived threat on support for reformed policing policies. Across three studies we found correlational evidence that perceiving police officers as threatening predicts increased support for reformed policing practices (e.g., limiting the use of lethal force and matching police force demographics to those of the community). In contrast, perceiving Black men as threatening predicted reduced support for policing policy reform. Perceived threat also predicted willingness to sign a petition calling for police reform. Experimental evidence indicated that priming participants to associate Black men with threat could also reduce support for policing policy reform, and this effect was moderated by internal motivation to respond without prejudice. Priming participants to associate police officers with threat did not increase support for policing policy reform. Results indicate that resistance to policing policy reform is associated with perceiving Black men as threatening. Moreover, findings suggest that publicizing racially charged police encounters, which may conjure associations between Black men and threat, could reduce support for policing policy reform

    Who Can Deviate from the Party Line? Political Ideology Moderates Evaluation of Incongruent Policy Positions in Insula and Anterior Cingulate Cortex

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    Political polarization at the elite level is a major concern in many contemporary democracies, which is argued to alienate large swaths of the electorate and prevent meaningful social change from occurring, yet little is known about how individuals respond to political candidates who deviate from the party line and express policy positions incongruent with their party affiliations. This experiment examines the neural underpinnings of such evaluations using functional MRI (fMRI). During fMRI, participants completed an experimental task where they evaluated policy positions attributed to hypothetical political candidates. Each block of trials focused on one candidate (Democrat or Republican), but all participants saw two candidates from each party in a randomized order. On each trial, participants received information about whether the candidate supported or opposed a specific policy issue. These issue positions varied in terms of congruence between issue position and candidate party affiliation. We modeled neural activity as a function of incongruence and whether participants were viewing ingroup or outgroup party candidates. Results suggest that neural activity in brain regions previously implicated in both evaluative processing and work on ideological differences (insula and anterior cingulate cortex) differed as a function of the interaction between incongruence, candidate type (ingroup versus outgroup), and political ideology. More liberal participants showed greater activation to incongruent versus congruent trials in insula and ACC, primarily when viewing ingroup candidates. Implications for the study of democratic representation and linkages between citizens’ calls for social change and policy implementation are discussed

    Social Identity and the Use of Ideological Categorization in Political Evaluation

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    In this research, we address a longstanding question concerning how individuals evaluate social and political issues. We focus on the role that political self-identification plays when individuals evaluate policy statements. In a laboratory setting, participants completed a task facilitation procedure, in which they made paired sets of judgments about a series of policy statements. Relative to a control task, ideological categorization of policy statements as liberal or conservative influenced the ease of evaluation. On experimental trials that began with ideological categorization, policy evaluations that were consistent with the participant’s own ideology were made more quickly than responses that were ideologically inconsistent and more quickly than responses following a control judgment. In three experiments, we show that this effect is stronger for individuals with more accessible ideological identification (Experiment 1) and more extreme ideological identification (Experiment 2), and that it holds when examining partisan instead of ideological identification (Experiment 3). The findings suggest that the use of ideological category information can facilitate and interfere with evaluative judgments of political issues, and that the use of such categories varies as a function of individual differences in the strength of political identification

    Affective Flexibility: Evaluative Processing Goals Shape Amygdala Activity

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    Although early research implicated the amygdala in automatic processing of negative information, more recent research suggests that it plays a more general role in processing the motivational relevance of various stimuli, suggesting that the relation between valence and amygdala activation may depend on contextual goals. This study provides experimental evidence that the relation between valence and amygdala activity is dynamically modulated by evaluative goals. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, participants evaluated the positive, negative, or overall (positive plus negative) aspects of famous people. When participants were providing overall evaluations, both positive and negative names were associated with amygdala activation. When they were evaluating positivity, positive names were associated with amygdala activity, and when they were evaluating negativity, negative names were associated with amygdala activity. Evidence for a negativity bias was found; modulation was more pronounced for positive than for negative information. These data suggest that the amygdala flexibly processes motivationally relevant evaluative information in accordance with current processing goals, but processes negative information less flexibly than positive information
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