About the Center for Political Psychology

Group of 5 young people, posed together in a conference room

Welcome to the Center for the Study of Political Psychology (CSPP) at the University of Minnesota. We are dedicated to the establishment of a strong research community for social scientists focused on the theoretical and practical advancement of political psychology. The study of political psychology centers on understanding how leaders and ordinary citizens make political judgments and the consequences these have for the broader political system.

CSPP is widely regarded as one of the premier research and graduate training centers in the United States. We receive support from the Department of Political Science, the Department of Psychology, and the Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication, all at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

We offer mentorship and collaboration, travel and research funds, the design and collection of data on original research projects, a colloquium series, as well as a PhD minor for graduate students who wish to receive specialized training in political psychology.

What is Political Psychology?

The field of political psychology has grown rapidly and become an important and influential area of scholarship in the social sciences. Originating in the early 1940s from psychoanalytic research on personality and politics, political psychology now involves research on political belief systems, political attitudes and behavior, emotion, political information processing and cognition, and biopolitics (e.g., evolutionary political psychology, behavioral genetics, and neuroscience).

For many years, faculty and students from several departments and colleges of the University of Minnesota shared an interest in broad themes such as political tolerance, citizenship and political participation, and political and social cognition and communication. Collaborations eventually developed, spawning several programs of research and numerous publications. It is from these unique interactions that the Center for the Study of Political Psychology was founded in 1995 to provide a more formal structure for facilitating these multidisciplinary relationships with the goal of promoting further interdisciplinary work.

What We Do

We provide many opportunities, both organized and spontaneous, for interaction and intellectual exchange and aims to create an environment in which the promotion of interdisciplinary research and learning are highly valued. The rich and complex world of political behavior allows us to bring scholars from different disciplines to this diverse program. At the center, we aim to integrate theoretical and applied concerns in political psychology using a vast range of methodologies.