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Broadening Political Psychology

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Abstract

One hundred years ago, if we proposed that we could make you happy with a pill, we would have been ridiculed and would have entered the realm of science fiction and not science itself. Yet that is precisely where we are today. The genetics and neurobiological revolution is upon us, and we advocate that political psychology not simply join this revolution but take a lead role in it. Here in this review, we explore the various ways in which political psychology can embrace this revolution and incorporate work in neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, endocrinology, and recent advances in genetics. In doing so, we advocate the adoption of an epidemiological approach and discuss the ways in which various methods including physiological experimentation, genetic analysis, and neurological explorations including MRIs and other technical advances provide critical insight into human behavior and present intriguing possibilities for exploring the nature of political attitudes, attachments, and behaviors. In advocating for broadening the approaches used in the field, we reflect critically on how we might improve and strengthen the accuracy of our understanding of the psychological bases of political preferences and behavior in the future.

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