Political Psychology of Conflict and Cooperation

School: School of Government
Department of Political Science and International Studies

Modular value: 20 credits
Term long 
Contact Hours: 
3 hours per week

Dr Tereza Capelos introduces the module

Above: Dr Capelos introduces the Political Psychology of Conflict and Cooperation module

This module explores how political psychology theories can be applied to the field of International Relations. With a particular focus on processes of conflict and cooperation at the international level, the module provides you with an overview of the central debates in the study of political psychology. This includes the psychological mechanisms which explain the judgements, decisions, and behaviour of political actors, elites, social groups, and mass publics in political environments that generate conflict and cooperation.

The module will also examine the role of emotions in crises, identities of religion, nationalism and gender, and the psychological processes behind extreme politics like radicalization, terrorism and political violence. While the course is grounded in political psychology and IR, we will also draw on insights from political communication, sociology, and social neuroscience. During the course of the module we will engage in the design and implementation of a political psychology research project.

Teaching and learning approach

The module will be delivered in 2 hour sessions using a range of teaching and learning methods, including interactive lectures, group discussions, case studies, lecturer-led reviews of research design and data collection approaches, and presentations from visiting affiliate staff and specialist guest speakers.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion on the module, students will demonstrate an ability to

  • Identify major debates and theoretical contributions to the Political Psychology and International Relations fields, and critically evaluate related literature;
  • Analyse the interrelationship between the theories and empirical paradigms reviewed in class;
  • Apply the relevant Political Psychology concepts and methodological approaches to own research proposal, with the aim to develop a research project that tests specific research hypotheses on the political psychology of conflict and cooperation.
  • Organise workload to meet deadlines.


The assessment for the module will consist of:

  • 1 x 2600 word research proposal (65%)
  • 1 x 1400 word research portfolio (35%)

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.