Understanding the psychological appeal of populism

Sandra Obradović, Séamus A. Power, Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Psychology can play an important role in expanding our understanding of the demand-side of populism by revealing its underlying relational logic. Social psychological perspectives on populism are beginning to show how: 1) the division between us (‘the good people’) and them (‘the corrupt elites’/’foreign others’) taps into core intergroup dynamics, 2) economic and cultural processes are construed in terms of basic status concerns, and 3) collective emotions become mobilised through political communication. Taking these insights into consideration, we reflect on psychology's contribution to the study of populism thus far, and chart out an ambitious role for it at the heart of this interdisciplinary field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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