Go to main content
BPS News

Psychology can help increase the turnout at elections

26 September 2016

Psychologists have drawn up a three-stage plan to help politicians improve their relationship with their electorate and boost turnout at elections.

The plan can be found in the British Psychological Society’s new briefing paper ‘Behaviour Change: Voter apathy’, which has been published for this year’s party conference season.

Drawing on psychological research into voter behaviour, the plan says politicians should:

  • Identify who the voters are and where they are;
  • Understand what is important to voters and why
  • Communicate better with voters

Among the practical steps the briefing advocates are making it easier to vote by allowing people to vote online and developing an understanding of the breadth of issues that are of importance to voters.

The briefing also looks at the arguments for and against compulsory voting.

Professor Peter Kinderman says:

“The challenge for politicians is how to engage with an increasingly disaffected and disengaged electorate in age of rapid technological change that means voters have more information than ever before.

Psychological research shows that many factors affect the decision to vote or not to vote, that decisions change over time and that it is open to bias and influence. This suggests that it is possible to challenge voter apathy by following our plan.”


Top of page