An aerial view of the Palace of Westminster

Political Psychology Section

The purpose of this section is to promote Political Psychology in the UK and globally, enabling and empowering citizens with the political skills to meaningfully shape policy, practice and their worlds.

About

While political events continue to astound, there has never been a more critical time to further our understanding of how political processes interact with psychological thoughts, feelings and behaviours at all levels.

It is arguably our most pressing need and Political Psychology is about doing exactly this. 

Whether you’re interested in everyday politics in your workplace, community or your home, or indeed in party politics, then this new section aims to reach out to all BPS members, including practitioners, academics and students, in order to promote the exchange ideas, to foster research and collaboration, and to share events with like-minded organisations, such as the UK’s Political Studies Association with whom we have already developed a fruitful relationship. 

It is hoped that through the section we can give Political Psychology a basis for critical reflection and a ‘home’ for discussion appealing to all within our discipline. While there has been an International Society for Political Psychology for over 40 years, there has been no national equivalent within the BPS until now.  

We aim to facilitate a range of activities and interests for all BPS members, for whom political issues in psychological and other work are of daily importance.

Political psychology is not just about those we recognise as ‘politicians’, but also about the politicians we don’t always recognise – all of us.

We do hope you’ll join.

Houses of Parliament
Guideline

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.

Resources

Understanding Politicians and Political Behaviour

Politics and Speech

Professor Gavin Sullivan considers how politicians handle (and mishandle) their audience:

Politics and the Media

Dr Sharon Coen and colleagues examine the importance of local media and national media in our understanding of political matters and events:

Personality and leadership

Dr Maddy Wyatt and colleagues have worked with political parties and groups to gain a better understanding of what makes politicians tick:

The Psychology of Politicians

The Psychologist magazine of May 2015 coincided with the General Election and was a special issue on politics with contributions from Sharon Coen, Jo Silvester and Maddy Wyatt. This edited book includes contributions from psychologists across Europe on the social, cognitive and personality factors involved in politicians’ behaviour

Weinberg, A. (ed.) (2012) The Psychology of Politicians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

How politicians respond to questions

Committee

Chair: Kesi Mahendran ([email protected])

Chair Elect: Vacant  

Past Chair: Ashley Weinberg

Honorary Treasurer: Vacant ([email protected])

Honorary Secretary: Vacant 

Committee Members

  • Catherine Lido
  • Daniel MacInerney
  • Gavin Sullivan
  • Madeleine Wyatt
  • Peter Bull
  • Sarajane Aris
  • Steve Flatt
  • Rozena Nadeem
  • Lianna Roast

Northern Ireland Representative: Vacant

Join

Membership of the Political Psychology Section is only open to members of the British Psychological Society.

If you are not a BPS member, you can join the Section at the same time as applying for membership of the society.

Apply to join the society

Benefits of belonging

Benefits of Political Psychology Section Membership

  • Full access to our website
  • Opportunities to influence and take part in the development of the section
  • Opportunity to voice your opinion, either at the Section’s AGM and/or by becoming a member of the section’s committee
  • Regular updates via our membership announcement e-mail list

Member Announcement Email List

The Political Psychology Section uses its membership announcement email list to inform its members of activities and initiatives that are relevant to their interests and to make requests for engagement on topical issues. 

By becoming a member of the Section you are automatically added to the announcement list.

To receive these emails you will need to:

  1. become a member of the Political Psychology Section
  2. opt into receiving email communication and provide a working email address

These preferences can be updated by logging into your member portal.

If you have any queries, please contact Member Network Services.

To assist us in responding to your query please make sure to include your membership number and quote 'Political Psychology Section announcement email' in the subject line.

Getting involved with the Political Psychology Section Committee

The Political Psychology Section relies on a wide range of people getting involved, and the work of the Section is largely achieved through the dedication of unpaid volunteers.

Our volunteers come from a wide range of different backgrounds, whether they be practitioners or academics, or full members or student members, and together form an open and inclusive community.