Political Psychology What shapes political behavior more: the situations in which individuals ﬁnd themselves, or the internal psychological makeup—beliefs, values, and so on—of those individuals? This is perhaps the leading division within the psy- chological study of politics today. Political Psychology: Situations, Individuals, and Cases provides a concise, readable, and conceptually organized introduction to the topic of political psychology by examining this very question. Using this situationism–dispositionism framework—which roughly paral- lels the concerns of social and cognitive psychology—this book focuses on such key explanatory mechanisms as behaviorism, obedience, personality, group- think, cognition, affect, emotion, and neuroscience to explore topics ranging from voting behavior and racism to terrorism and international relations. Houghton’s clear and engaging examples directly challenge students to place themselves in both real and hypothetical situations which involve intense moral and political dilemmas. This highly readable text will provide students with the conceptual foundation they need to make sense of the rapidly chang- ing and increasingly important ﬁeld of political psychology. David Patrick Houghton is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida. Political Psychology Situations, Individuals, and Cases David Patrick Houghton First published 2009 by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 Simultaneously published in the UK by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2008. “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.” © 2009 Taylor and Francis All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Houghton, David Patrick. Political psychology : situations, individuals, and cases / David Patrick Houghton. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Political psychology. I. Title. JA74.5.H68 2008 320.01′9—dc22 2008019240 ISBN 0-203-88911-8 Master e-book ISBN ISBN10: 0–415–99013–0 (hbk) ISBN10: 0–415–99014–9 (pbk) ISBN10: 0–203–88911–8 (ebk) ISBN13: 978–0–415–99013–4 (hbk) ISBN13: 978–0–415–99014–1 (pbk) ISBN13: 978–0–203–88911–4 (ebk) Contents List of Figures and Tables vii Preface ix INTRODUCTION 1 1 The Conceptual Scheme of This Book 3 2 A Brief History of the Discipline 22 PART I The Situation 35 3 Behaviorism and Human Freedom 37 4 The Psychology of Obedience 46 5 Creating a “Bad Barrel” 57 6 Group Decision-Making 69 PART II The Individual 83 7 Psychobiography 85 8 Personality and Beliefs 101 9 Cognition 114 10 Affect and Emotion 132 11 Neuroscience 143 vi Contents PART III Bringing the Two Together 155 12 The Psychology of Voting Behavior 157 13 The Psychology of Nationalism, Ethnic Conﬂict, and Genocide 168 14 The Psychology of Racism and Political Intolerance 184 15 The Psychology of Terrorism 201 16 The Psychology of International Relations 216 17 Conclusion: A Personal View 232 Notes 242 Index 267 List of Figures and Tables Figures 2.1 The relationship between political science and other ﬁelds 23 4.1 The cards used in Solomon Asch’s experiments on social pressure 48 5.1 M.C. Escher’s “Circle Limit IV” 58 5.2 Zimbardo’s interpretation of the Stanford experiment 61 5.3 One of the photos released in 2004 showing U.S. servicemen torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison 64 Tables 2.1 A summary of the features of the Homo economicus and Homo psychologicus models 32 3.1 A summary of the arguments for and against behaviorism 45 4.1 A summary of some of the arguments for and against Milgram’s obedience paradigm 56 5.1 A summary of the arguments for and against Zimbardo’s “bad barrel” approach 67 7.1 Barber’s characterization of modern presidents 95 16.1 Solidarity and Status dimensions 223 Preface For almost as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in the causes of political, economic, and other social behaviors, though it took me a long time to realize that what I was most interested in had a name and formed an academic ﬁeld in its own right: “political psychology.” In fact, it was not until I moved to the United States as a graduate student that I found what I was looking for. I was raised in the British university system, and cannot recall the term ever being used during my undergraduate years at Shefﬁeld University (though thankfully it is now widely taught in Britain). I had begun my higher education as a student of economics. Rather naively believing that I would learn something about the causes of human economic behavior from microeconom- ics, I was dismayed to ﬁnd that many economists simply assumed various things to be true about human behavior—treating them as “givens”—and then used these assumptions to build models of various sorts. There is a very old joke about an engineer, a priest, and an economist who have fallen down a cavernous hole. Naturally, they begin debating a way to get out of this predicament, and after a little thought each comes up with a pro- posal. The engineer says “let’s make footholds at various points by climbing on one another’s shoulders, which will enable us to clamber out of the hole.” The priest goes next, and not unexpectedly offers a more spiritual solution. “Let us all join hands and pray to God. He will ﬁnd an answer to our problem.” Then it is the economist’s turn. He thinks a bit more for a moment, and then simply says to the others, “assume a ladder!” The microeconomics teachers tried in vain to ﬁll my head with preference curves and shifting lines on graphs, based on assumptions about human behavior (perfect information, the non-existence of advertising, and so on) which they admitted were manifestly untrue. They nevertheless recommended proceeding (after Milton Friedman) “as if” they were true. This was deﬁnitely not what I was looking for, and I didn’t last long at it. I didn’t want to assume anything about human behavior. I wanted to know how people actually thought in the real world, and why.