HOW ELECTORAL PSYCHOLOGY ENLIGHTENS DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP
What do citizens think about when they stand in the polling booth? In spite of the latest technological innovations in electoral methods, what goes on in people’s minds while voting has been neglected by academia until now. Michael Bruter, who has published widely in the fields of political behaviour, political psychology, identity, public opinion, extremism and social science research methods, aims to fill this gap with his current project funded by the European Research Council. Bruter, who joined the LSE in 2001, explores voters’ minds in 15 countries, combining surveys, interviews, experiments and direct observation – including innovative techniques such as ‘election diaries’, ‘polling station observers’ and ‘emotional’ questions on voters’ favourite animals, colours or drinks or how they would rank the seven deadly sins or Ten Commandments – in an attempt to understand more about the role of personality and emotions in voting. The expectation is that the project will have a significant impact on our understanding of political identity and electoral decisions, including specific topics like the psychology of extremism, voters’ identity and young people’s participation.