The Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship presents:
«INVESTIGATING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROCESSES BEHIND POLITICAL ATTITUDES»
When studying political attitudes, it is important to not just understand the content of these attitudes but also the exact psychological process through which they are formed. Attitudes that are formed through more automatic processes are, for example, more difficult to change and will be less influenced by elaborate reasoning such as ideological considerations. In this workshop, I discuss the need to and the ways to differentiate between different types of psychological processes that underlie political attitudes. The focus will be methodological and I will introduce a range of methods that can be imported from psychology into the study of political attitudes including reaction time measures, memory-confusion protocols and psychophysiology. In addition, I will discuss how some of these laboratory-based methods can be successfully simplified and, hence, be introduced into online surveys of representative national samples. Substantially, I will focus on two areas of my research: (1) how people respond to political parties’ endorsements of specific policy proposals and (2) how people form attitudes on issues of social welfare.