Editor's Introduction


Over the past two decades the interdisciplinary field of political psychology has grown significantly. An extensive new handbook and a four-volume compendium of classic and contemporary readings have been published; two new books series have been established (by Oxford and Routledge); conference panels devoted to topics in political psychology have increased in number and diversity; and the field's flagship journal, Political Psychology, has nearly doubled the space devoted to articles and seen a similar increase in submissions. Given this explosion of information and interest in the field, there is an increasing need for a venue where cumulative research findings are synthesized in a form accessible to the scholar, student, and practitioner. The Advances in Political Psychology annual series is intended to fill this need by publishing capstone papers that summarize and detail a systematic program of ongoing research on a given topic or theory.

In social psychology, it has long been de rigueur for authors to recap and expand their work in the Advances in Experimental Social Psychology series after publishing a number of shorter, more narrowly-focused journal articles. For example, David Sears and Carolyn Funk's (1991) landmark paper “The Role of Self-Interest in Social and Political Attitudes” provides the reader with a comprehensive discussion of theoretical and normative issues on the role of material interest in mass politics, and distills relevant empirical evidence from more than a decade's worth of published papers. The goal of Advances in Political Psychology would be to emulate the leading position of its social psychology counterpart in terms of structure, function, and scientific influence.

Each annual volume will include six capstone articles that capture the wide range of subject matter studied by political psychologists around the globe. The papers in this inaugural volume showcase the diversity of topics and approaches in the field today. They include a critical review of the burgeoning field of political neuroscience (Jost, Nam, Amodio, and Bavel); a multi-faceted program of research on social networks and political communication guided by the idea that democratic politics is, at its core, socially contingent (Huckfeldt); a framework of the motivational, ideological, and social underpinnings of support for and actual engagement in acts of violent extremism (e.g., terrorism; Kruglanski, Gelfand, Bélanger, Sheveland, Hetiarachchi & Gunaratna); a theory of the normatively complex role played by moral conviction in the development of political attitudes, beliefs, and behavior (Skitka and Morgan); an essay on the dynamic interplay of genes and culture in the creation of politics at different levels of analysis (McDermott and Hatemi); and—last but not least—a theory of motivated reasoning, partisan competition, and opinion quality (Leeper and Slothuus). The papers come from a distinguished group of psychologists and political scientists working in North America, Europe, and Asia, and I am grateful to the authors for contributing their time, effort, and resources to the series.

Advances in Political Psychology would not have come to fruition without the support of the International Society of Political Psychology. I would especially like to express my gratitude to those who worked to push the project forward during their tenure as president of the society: Leonie Huddy, Bert Klandermans, Rose McDermott, and Stanley Feldman. The idea to resuscitate the Advances series—originally conceived a decade ago by Peg Hermann and Danny Bar-Tal—occurred in several conversations with Leonie Huddy at Stony Brook. Leonie convinced me that this would be a boon to the field, and she shepherded the original proposal through the ISPP Governing Council meeting. I would also like to thank George Marcus, the ISPP councilor, who provided valuable advice and unrivaled institutional memory, as well as my fellow political psychologists who have agreed to serve on the editorial board. Finally, the series was enthusiastically courted by Mike Streeter at Wiley. Mike brought his wise counsel to the Advances project, and he assembled and led a first-rate production team to make it a reality.

As we launch this new venture, our hope is that Advances in Political Psychology will fulfill a unique intellectual mission in the field: to provide greater depth and breadth than a typical journal article; more conceptual focus than a handbook chapter; and greater economy than a book.