Why do people engage in suicide terrorism, and how do we discourage it? What makes people discriminate against minority groups, and how do we prevent it? Why are voting rates so low, and how can we improve them? In this course, we explore the psychological foundations of successful public policy-making. We begin by considering different analytic frameworks for understanding human nature, examining the contributions of economics, political science, and psychology to explanations of social and political behavior. We then apply these theories and concepts to investigating a range of important political and public policy issues, including: how people develop their political attitudes; how mass media and campaigns shape public opinion; the root causes of racism and prejudice; why people vote, volunteer and engage in protest; and the psychological underpinnings of political extremism and genocide. In each case, our focus is on the ways that knowledge about human cognition can help policymakers craft public policies that reach their intended goals.
Subfield: American Politics
Professor Lerman's 164A "Political Psychology and Involvement" is the same as her Public Policy 190 "Special Topics in Public Policy". This is the exact same course listed under Political Science.
IMPORTANT! Please note you will NOT be able to take Political Science 164A with Professor Lerman, if you have already completed (or plan to take) Public Policy 190 with her.