Political psychology is a thriving field of social scientific inquiry. Political psychologists attempt to understand the psychological underpinnings, roots, and consequences of political behavior. Some of this work attempts to understand political phenomena by applying theories developed through research done in psychological laboratories. Findings regarding mediation and moderation of real-world effects have often led to extensions and revisions of the inspiring psychological theories. Other political psychology research involves the development of completely new theory to provide psychological accounts of political phenomena. The empirical testing and refinement of these theories also contributes to basic understanding of how the mind works and how social interaction takes place.
Political psychologists employ a wide range of research methods in doing their work. Some studies are done in laboratories with college student participants. Some studies are national surveys with representative samples of adults. Some studies involve experimental manipulations embedded in surveys. Some studies involve time series analysis of actuarial data. And some studies involve systematic quantitative content analysis of text materials, such as news stories.
The quarterly Political Psychology Colloquium exposes participants to research intended to test and refine theories of political cognition, emotion, and action and to enhance understanding of the methods used by political psychologists. Each week, a presentation is made by a participant (regarding a project he or she is conducting) or outside researchers from both academia and the private sector.
Below is an overview of each year’s colloquia.