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Cognition and perception, Government and politics

Cognitive strain in Parliament

Being an MP does not come with a formal job description, and the working realities of our elected politicians are complex.

29 September 2020

BPS Briefing

By Policy Team

We know from current psychological evidence that work plays a central role in our identity and meaningful activity in life is key to wellbeing.

This applies as much to politicians as it does to any other job.

While other high-stress professions have been studied from an occupational psychology perspective, this has not occurred to a large extent within parliamentarians.

This briefing asks, from a psychological perspective, what the role of an MP actually looks like in practice, and what are the psychological ramifications faced by our elected representatives once they enter parliament?

Download the document

This document was written by Andrew Baldwin, Cynthia Pinto, Saskia Perriard-Abdoh & Ashley Weinberg as part of the British Psychological Society’s ongoing Psychological Government programme.

The authors would like to thank their fellow steering group members for their ongoing time and support:

  • John Amaechi OBE
  • Eleonore Batteux
  • Angel Chater
  • Rob Hutton
  • Emily McBride
  • Tony Munton
  • Cynthia Pinto
  • Gavin Sulliva

We are also especially thankful to Roxane Gervais and Georgina Kester for their time and comments.

The authors would also like to thank the individuals who agreed to be interviewed through the course of this project.