Psychology Political Psychology
Ingrid J. Haas
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 November 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0178


The field of political psychology explains political behavior as a function of both individual- and group-level psychological processes. While the field is interdisciplinary, political psychologists tend to work in either psychology or political science departments. Although the overall aim is often similar, researchers from each discipline approach the same questions in different ways, and interested scholars are encouraged to examine literatures from both fields. The general approach to research is to focus on individual political attitudes, emotion, beliefs, and behavior, and attempt to explain these phenomena using psychological research and theory. Historical approaches to research in this field often relied on case studies or qualitative approaches, whereas newer work has incorporated a variety of quantitative methods (surveys, experiments). Related fields of biopolitics and political neuroscience have begun to utilize physiological and neuroscientific methods to address questions of interest to political psychologists. This bibliography provides resources for general overviews of the field of political psychology, as well as relevant textbooks and academic journals. In addition, resources are provided in relation to a variety of specific research topics and areas.

General Overviews

There are a number of comprehensive overviews of the field of political psychology that focus both on the historical trajectory of the field as well as challenges unique to working in this interdisciplinary area. These are primarily geared toward graduate students and researchers. Huddy, et al. 2013 is the second edition of the most popular handbook of political psychology, which is probably the best place for interested researchers to start. Krosnick, et al. 2010 and Tetlock 2007 are chapters on political psychology from social psychology handbooks. Sears 1987 and McGuire 1993 each provide overviews of the field of political psychology, relevant areas of research, and shifts in the focus of this work over time.

  • Huddy, L., D. O. Sears, and J. S. Levy, eds. 2013. The Oxford handbook of political psychology. 2d ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199760107.001.0001

    Essential reference for scholars of political psychology, this handbook features chapters on a variety of topics in political psychology written by many of the most prominent scholars in the field.

  • Krosnick, J. A., P. S. Visser, and J. Harder. 2010. The psychological underpinnings of political behavior. In Handbook of social psychology. 5th ed. Vol. 2. Edited by S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert, and G. Lindzey, 1288–1342. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470561119.socpsy002034

    This chapter in the main handbook of social psychology gives an overview and introduction to the field of political psychology.

  • McGuire, W. J. 1993. The poly-psy relationship: Three phases of a long affair. In Explorations in political psychology. Edited by S. Iyengar and W. J. McGuire, 9–35. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    Provides a historical overview of research in political psychology and describes how the focus of this work has shifted over time.

  • Sears, D. O. 1987. Political psychology. Annual Review of Psychology 38:229–255.

    DOI: 10.1146/

    This review gives a historical overview of work in political psychology, focusing on areas such as personality, public opinion, and conflict.

  • Tetlock, P. E. 2007. Psychology and politics: The challenges of integrating levels of analysis in social science. In Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles. 2d ed. Vol. 2. Edited by A. W. Kruglanski and E. T. Higgins, 888–912. New York: Guilford.

    This chapter provides an overview of political psychology, with special attention paid to challenges of work in this field.

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