Universiteit Leiden

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The Design of the Political Mind

Monday 22 October 2018
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

How do modern citizens think and feel about politics?
How do they make sense of the increasingly complex political reality?
Why do they often seem to act irrationally?

About the lecture

Michael Bang Petersen will argue that to answer these questions we need to understand what our political minds were designed for. There is only one explanation for functional biological design: evolution by natural selection.

In this talk, Michael Bang Petersen will discuss and illustrate how evolution designed the human mind to help our ancestors navigate in the politics of small-scale groups and how this design of the political mind continues to shape modern politics.

Perhaps surprisingly, much irrationality in modern politics is a direct consequence of a mind that is extremely well-designed for the politics of the past. 

About the speaker

Michael Bang Petersen is a professor at Aarhus University.

He is a leading scholar of political psychology and expert on deservingness heuristics. He investigates how the adaptive challenges of human evolutionary history shape the way modern citizens think about mass politics. He has published, among others, in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Psychology, and Evolution and Human Behavior.

Michael Bang Petersen


All welcome, please register with h.mazepus@fgga.leidenuniv.nl

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