Political Psychology of Mass Behavior
First of all, politics is around us, and it is an integral part of everyday life. People in the USA cannot imagine their life without politics. That is why incredibly high sums of money are spent to publicize political parties.
Certainly, these actions have a big influence on the psychology of people. As a rule, politicians who win election are very mentally strong people, and they are familiar with the psychology of the public. The politician who is able to announce his/her party better than others has very good chances for winning on the election.
Concerning the political psychology in the small groups, one should take into account that in every group of people, even in very small groups, there is a person who considers himself as a leader. Some people of the group accept his/her opinions and actions, while others do not accept something that he/she does, so they try to interrupt him/her.
These leaders, as a rule, achieve good results in the political sphere, but it should be mentioned that this progress cannot be done without an appropriate support of people who believe in this leader and his ideas. Only team work allows achieving top results in every beginning especially in politics. That is why, leaders must have in their characters abilities of a team work. Briefly, it can be said that they should notice the thoughts of people of his/her group and make important decisions only together.
It is also should be mentioned that the leader of the group, as a rule, has his/her own mentor (a person who achieved great results in politics or public activity). He/she tries to build his/her own way according to the experience of his/her own mentor.
As for me, it is good to have a leader, but one should take into account that the way of this person can differ greatly from the way which is taken by some leaders now. I think, sometimes it becomes a main fault of the leaders which, in conclusion, cannot allow him/her achieving planned results in the politics. Surfing the net, I have found an interesting lecture of Professor Glenn Wilson from the Gresham College (Wilson). The theme of this lecture is “The psychology of politics”.
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This lecture deals with two kinds of people: conservatives and liberals, who are the representatives of the U.S. political system. Also, this lecture characterizes totalitarianism and dictators, and their influence on public.
According to Wilson, conservatism is usual for people who feel a fear of uncertainty nowadays and in the future. The main characteristic of conservatism is the protection of “the social order”. To achieve this order this term includes such initiatives as the death penalty, abortion, premarital sex, pornography, the Biblical truth, patriotism, military expenditure, and gun control (economic issues are excluded from this list).
From the psychological point of view, conservatism relates to disgust sensitivity of the people to insanitary conditions or toward insects. The so called “fearfulness” of conservatives goes beyond the uncertainty.
Apparent from the conservatives, liberals are more open for different changes especially when it is necessary. According to different investigations, there is a tiny difference in brain activity between the conservatives and liberals. Also, big influence on the political views has an impact within the family.
Another important factor which has a great influence on the political views and political behavior is the age of people.
According to Wilson, it is very important to analyze main characteristics of the dictators. He argues that dictators differ very much from the other leaders, and these differences allow them to manipulate people and maintain order in the country.
As for me, conservatism is chosen by the people who are uncertain in their lives. They do not want to change something even though these changes can lead to changes. They want to see order in everyday life and initiatives of “social order” give them a higher level of certainty and safety.
Apparent from the conservatives, liberals are open to new changes and new challenges. They want to achieve equality for all the people and the equality everywhere. Instead of conservatives they think that the government should provide the politics of preventing different diseases, protecting civil liberties and rights.
It is also interesting that there is a difference in brain activity between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives have one dominating substance i n the anterior cingulate cortex , while liberals – another one.
Also, we should take into account that family plays a significant role in the political view of the family members. It is similar to traditions. From the election to the election some people do not change choice. In the childhood, a child begins to observe and notice some actions of his/her parents, and in the future it leads to his own model of political behavior. Of course, sometimes this model can differ from the parent’s one, but sometimes it can be very similar to the parent’s model.
Another aspect which defines political priorities and behavior is the age of a person. As usual, people who choose conservatism are older than those who choose liberalism. This is because older people, as a rule, lived a long life and gained a big life experience. The level of their lives can differ (some of them have a high social status while the others have a lower social status), but still they do not want to change anything. They are glad to live in the existing situation and do not prefer some changes especially radical ones.
The issue of totalitarianism and dictators also should be analyzed as it is important. It is worth saying that dictators have some special features of the character which allow them to control the public in their countries. Some of these leaders had the paranoid syndrome. I mean such dictators as Hitler or Stalin. Also, they were very self-oriented and tried to seize all power, and establish authoritarianism.
Certainly, there is the big difference in accession to the power between Stalin and Hitler. Communists seized power in the Soviet Union by cruel killing of the Nicholas the Second’s family. Instead of the Soviet Union, there was a very bad economic situation in Germany which forced German people to believe in the fascism ideology. They just have not got another choice at those times. Later, of course, German people realized what a big fault they made, but it was too late, unfortunately.
In the USSR, for example, political psychology was very straight and predictable in the reason of absence of a choice between the parties. There was only one party that occupied all spheres of life in the Soviet Union – the Communist party. The election was a voting for one party. It was a horrible regime which destroyed all civil liberties and possibilities. A lot of people were killed just for nothing.
In conclusion, it should be noticed that the political behavior of the people depends on the family traditions, age, social status of the person and, certainly, on the political regime of the country, presence of democratic liberties and human rights.
Wilson, G. (2011, December 6). “ The p sychology of p olitics .” Lecture.