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Understanding the Partisan Divide: Insights from Political Psychology

The W&M Washington Center is pleased to welcome Professor Xiaowen Xu to Hybrid DC Summer Sessions!
  • 3 credits

Political polarization has become an increasingly concerning issue in American politics and people’s day-to-day lives. What are the underlying causes of the partisan divide? This course will examine the various psychological processes that underlie political ideology, including but not limited to personality and dispositions, emotion and affect, goals and motivation, and attitudes and beliefs. This course will also address how understanding such psychological processes can help us create strategies to bridge political gaps. Students will be introduced to prominent theories and research in political psychology, and will be provided with a detailed background of how people may arrive at liberal or conservative ideologies from a psychological perspective.