Psychology and Politics

The way people think has a lot of influence on their politics. To be effective as a political organisation it is useful to be across how people respond to messages and how they think about politics in general. We can approach topics from different angles depending on target audience and hopefully convince more people to support us and get active.

I have read a lot of books about general psychology, so have some idea what I am talking about, but other members have a much deeper understanding of psychology from a marketing perspective and may be able to provide better insights.

This is just a conversation starter, please add more articles, critique what I have shared and add your own ideas on how we can use this info (without being creepy).

The psychology of changing political viewpoints WIRED

There are good links in this article too. The best tactic we can use from here IMO is pitching your message better at the audience, such as talking about equal marriage to conservatives as being about the family and commitment rather than freedom and equality.

Unconscious Reactions Separate Liberals and Conservatives SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

An example of how this sort of understanding can be used with data analysis has been discussed in the Psychometric manipulation thread (quote and article that sparked that debate provided below).

I’m on a crapload of painkillers until I get to the dentist on Tuesday, so am not going to provide the sharpest insights at this stage. There are plenty of more articles about that explain bits and pieces of politics from a psychological point of view, but I will refrain from sharing them at this stage or there will be too much info to wade through.

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Having gone through Facebook’s advertising parameters before, they are ridiculously specific even by other web advertising standards of targeting and most people don’t realize the targeting is so specific or that the “advertisers” might be more interested in pretending to look like legitimate sources of information to modify the readers mental state rather than getting them to buy something.

One of the most important psychological effects of these avenues of messaging in my opinion is the ability to reduce the voice of the speaker. This sentence you’re reading right now is inside your head being read in your voice, you could almost mistake it for being your thoughts if it weren’t for my username on the post. However if it were to say something that caused any friction with your strongly held beliefs then it will be noticed to not be part of you and rejected forcefully. All that to say I don’t think the power of this medium is in CHANGING minds rather it’s the power to validate and reinforce and strengthen beliefs, to encourage the targeted people to be more willing to perform the wanted actions.


I watched this recently: The Rise of Populism and the Backlash Against the Elites, with Nick Clegg and Jonathan Haidt, in which mostly I was interesting in the commentary by Johathan Haidt.
It’s a long video, but I think the really insightful stuff starts at 11:45. <=== Link
I rambled slightly intoxicatedly on #ppausocial last night about this topic. but probably didn’t do it justice.
Some good insights into the psychology in politics right there.

I watched it sporadically over a couple of days, watching grey faces talk is really boring. That said, it was quite interesting. I think it goes over much of the same material as the first two articles I posted.

Nick Clegg seemed pretty clueless about the whole European project. Integration is good, but only when it is democratic. The EU Commission, appointed by governments has more power than the elected EU Assembly. This was deliberate, so as to be able to push through an unpopular pro-business agenda at arms length from the national governments, so they didn’t have to wear the political flak. Pretty much how FTAs are done in Australia, particularly stuff like the TPP and ACTA. But I digress.

I think there is some space to change minds by adopting language that appeals to the target audience, but for us, at the current stage of the Parties life we should try to target people who already broadly agree with us and try to get them active.