Political psychology is a field of study with the goal of using psychology to better understand politicians, politics, and some political behaviors. Political psychologists examine politicians' conduct, political dynamics, underlying assumptions, and political performance using both social and cognitive explanations. Political analysts concentrate on research based on human behavior, political science, party identification, public view of politicians, the government, and the legislation. Political psychology always focuses on the political decision-making processes and how they affect society as a whole. Social change, on the other hand, refers to the of the social interchange of the social order of the community. The human modification includes the changes of nature, social behavior, social institutions and relationships of the society.

Political psychologists have always studied issues related to social relations and interactions among the people and how they behave in various political situations. Most of the political analyst have developed an interest in studies related to social change over the years with concerns about human behavior and human thinking. They have therefore developed an interest in the various interrelation between the political contexts and individual traits. Most of them suggest theories and concepts that explain why subjects and rulers thick and act as they have always done and how they think and act so as to shape their politics. The meaning of this research is, therefore, to illustrate how the political psychologists define social change as an important role in the community. The study will also explain various approaches that the political psychologists use in a social change such as the cognitive psychology, critical theory, and the social psychology. All these psychological factors are significant while determining the response of an individual in various environmental and contextual stimuli.

Social Change According to Political psychologists

Change is a primary concern for both policy and social psychology. Some political analysts go ahead to argue that social change is a foundation of concerns towards social psychology and therefore contain the capability to explain both firmness and change as a social phenomenon through the adequacy of social psychological theories that need to be understood. Social change, therefore, seeks to signal concerns about various procedures of variation in human relations within different societies. Political psychologists also use the term to evoke the social movements, protests and collective political actions which mainly focus on the vibrant growth of literature within the policy and social psychology. It also concentrates on the growth of research within sociology, anthropology, politics, in history and several behavioral sciences. This literature has various contributions that help on understanding change and efforts at extension and integration. About Stewart, Pratto (2013) it is evident that social change is a term that various people take for granted because there is a degree of fuzziness and slippage due to its usage (Pratto, Stewart & Bou , 2013, p. 90). They, therefore, argue that social change has taken the place of the analysis and definition of procedures of change in relations of human beings within the society.

Most political psychologists also take a social change for granted in various general ways because they think that it can obscure reflective and explicit values of the society. They use assumptions such as the societal, theoretical, psychological and political perspectives to suggest that scholars have failed to commit precise definition to the phenomena of social change. Precise definition together with reflective usage of the term highlights where the definition can underlie some significant aspects that seek to open the social engagement towards new agendas that will help in recognizing the social change. This will involve discontinuous change, continuous and sharp variations that will suggest the potential of limitations towards the linear models between people and the interacting teams (Cohen and Sherman, 2014, p. 76). Other political psychologists aim at inviting some aids towards societal change so as to encourage the performance of various theoretical, empirical and disciplinary perspectives where people never find themselves occupying the space of the different journals.

Perception of Political psychologists on Social change

Political analysts use various themes to explain their individual perspective regarding the societal change. The primary concern is decontextualized and critical study that aims at change and how this can enhance building us through the ubiquity of transformation and the operation of the ever-present forces within the community. The other reflection is the slight conceptualization of variation as what arises from various corresponding actions and collective neglect causes of unintended transformations and dramatic change in the nations and societies (Walker & Smith, 2002, p. 76). The final ideology of the role of power in the study and theories arises from various theoretical debates from the present journals that have been written in the current years. For instance, there is relative scarcity argument by Walker & Smith (2002), the social identification theory by Tajfel & Turner (1979) and finally, the theoretical perspective which always aims at explaining the preservation of inequality among people in the society (Tajfel & Turner, 1979, p. 32). Pratto & Stewart (2013) on the other hand argue that there is the availability of many perspectives that should explain the change and stability in the society inequality (Pratto, Stewart & Bou , 2013, p. 76).

From these scholars, it is important to foresee mobilization among various people since this will act as the principal defense of any current societal planning and this is not less that being an effortful and central process of authority, identification and influence within the society. Political psychologists, therefore, argue that leaders should focus on mobilization for a change of various arrangements within the community. Walker & Smith (2002) argue that it is necessary to gain massive mutual attention in the process of change and stability. If one does a contrary to this, then he or she only wants to accept a quo status of existing the societal measures as a default.In the case study of Pratto and the colleagues (2013) on the other hand offer historical examples of lessons from the death of the black towards the desertification of Iraq as the situation of societal stability (Pratto, Stewart & Bou , 2013, p. 89). The main reasons behind this are the attempt to have social cohesion, access resources, internal security and some functional institutions. Pratto and colleagues also argue that the extension of social theory dominance continues to pay some attention towards the blurring and shifting of boundaries in the current world especially from the transnational and international movements and administrations. As a result of this, they suggest ways through which people can use dynamic interactions between institutions, society, people and transnational levels to contribute to societal change through ideas and institutions that involve the community.

Social Psychology

Political psychologists use social psychology to identify the processes of reproduction and resistance to power. They also use social psychology to determine the real-world circumstances that assist or even undermine the liberal social change which is the key concern in this study. In this case, Feldman and Johnston (2014), suggests some real-world situations that are presented in various historical trends in their researches through collective protest and actions from the social psychological and sociological viewpoints (Feldman and Johnston, 2014, p. 65). They offer empirical examination into various social conditions that lead to collective actions. The authors say that it is necessary to highlight the significance of social embeddedness while shaping protests and in studying the real importance of some of the unfolding relations of the society in social relations. They suggest that some of these processes are important in maintaining oppression in the society. This can be done by improving the possibility of a dominant group to legitimate violence and by undermining the perception of a target team through injustice, collective efficacy and social identity that are both collective and critical actions.

Shnabel and Ullrich (2013) have a different perspective towards social change. They believe that social change involves the redistribution of wealth and power towards some improved equality which is facilitated by the cooperation between the disadvantaged and advantaged teams (Shnabel & Ullrich, 2013, p. 37). Shnabel and Nadler (2008) on the other hand base their argument on the needs model. They argue that for one to expose the ability for cooperation, then a leader should address some figurative threats to both the less privileged groups and the advantaged team’s morality agency (Shnabel & Nadler, 2008, p. 13). It is, however, important to understand if drawing particular attention towards the morally advantaged groups can help or prevent efforts towards addressing the issue of inequality. Dixon, Kerr, and Thomae (2013) end up by pointing that the growth of various research bodies can improve the contact of different intergroup and this can bolster the quo status of the group (Dixon, Durrheim, Kerr & Thomae, 2013, p. 31). They question on whether people should continue prioritizing the reduction of prejudice interventions. The authors outline some possible future directions that can help in the reduction of response towards social change. First, they describe a compatibility approach which evaluated the situation under which an intergroup can contact some particular inequality address. Secondly, they come up with an incommensurables approach that estimates some suggestion for predisposition reduction of interventions by undermining the support for social change (Dalton, 2014, p. 112). Finally, they evaluate a contextual approach that examines some concrete details regarding intergroup relations. Instead of concluding that the prejudice lessening approach is inherently flawed, they end up suggesting that that the issue is just a way that focuses on harm reduction and therefore blinds people towards some borders of efforts that bring inequality in the society.

Critical theory

Political psychologists use the critical theory to narrow the sense to various aspects that are distinct through the historical phase. The primary distinctive of the critical theory is the philosophical approach that extends to the ethics, political philosophy, and traditional philosophy that is most apparent when considering the philosophical history of social science (Goff, Mentovich and Martin, 2013, p. 24). Critical theorists claim that social inquiry combines some separate poles of philosophies and social sciences. According to Horkheimer (1972), a capitalist society can be changed by getting more democratic. This ensures that all the conditions within the society that have a social life and controlled by human beings always depend on having equal consensus more so in a rational community (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1972, p. 241). The key orientation of an average critical theory alignment in the form of severe social inquiry focuses on the transformation of capitalism towards the real equality where such control can be exercised. In such a situation, some striking similarities can occur between the American Pragmatism and Critical Theory. Democracy, therefore, focuses on the location of practical, transformative and cooperative activities that continue to date. It attempts to distinguish the limits and nature of real democracy in globalizing, pluralistic and complex society.

Critical theory also offers some viable alternatives towards political and social philosophy today. According to Habermas, it is evident that a normative political theory tries to bring some pretheoretical perspectives into a reflective equilibrium. Critical theory has assisted in the realization of the freedom of human beings by manifesting some contributions towards educational, social science philosophy. The critical theory, therefore, remains to be a first philosophical custom in various normative disciplines of political philosophy because it considers some constitutional claims are a challenge (Howarth, Campbell, Cornish and Franks, 2013, p. 35). It is also a conception of justice, democracy and relationship between people within the society. It assists in fastening the theory that is related to the historical context of critical theory. It also aims at creating some reflective conditions that are essential for the verification of reasonable inquiry of the theory and conditions that are confined in various self-governing institutions. It is however unfortunate that modern forms of critical theory continue to emerge that are related to colonialism, sexism, and racism. These issues transform the modern idea of critical theory and result to emancipation.

Cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology, on the other hand, focuses on the desire to avoid conflict between people. A political psychologist suggests that people tend to live satisfying life when they avoid conflict among each other. It is evident that most people change their minds and attitude due to the discomfort that they experience after a conflict of different perspectives (Pratto, Stewart & Bou , 2013, p. 67). According to the cognitive psychology theory, people should always focus on avoiding conflicting activities especially between what they do and think as well. The psychology of social change aims at modifying the behavior of individuals in the society through the use of conventional amendment theory. The theory suggests that people need to pass through various stages before they get to a changing point. Most of the psychologists who research on behavior modification have tried to identify various procedures that can result in successful modification and change of human behavior. Most of these psychologists work within criminal rectification institutions.

These analysts suggest that positive reinforcement is the most efficient form of behavior modification than offering a punishment or even some negative reinforcement. If people are immoral towards their personal standards, then they are likely to experience a negative feeling. The rational person should always engage in less immoral acts that contribute to building self-interest materials. Cognitive disagreement is likely to occur when a person is inconsistent in the belief. Such dissonance is the belief and the behavior of various people. According to Goff and Colleagues (2013) is it important to change the mindset of an individual and convince a person that whatever he or she is doing is correct especially when doing the wrong this (Goff, Mentovich and Martin, 2013, p. 78). Such a propensity is an important cognitive dissonance because it can make an individual to behave in the correct way through some underlying moral perspectives.

An increase in the dictate of people for being immoral can result in an increase if fraudulent activities. This is likely to occur due to the psychological marvel of cognitive disagreement. Most individuals experience the pressure of convincing themselves that most evil actions are moral. If the belief of any person affects the understanding of another individual, then the increase of pain as result of being immoral may lead to one individual from the society convincing the other that an immoral act is morally correct. This finally results in the organization engaging in more unethical practices.


The final contribution from the political psychologists echo the concerns of the earliest contribution concerning the restrictions of the theories mentioned above by talking about the range of social change phenomena. The grant specifies both the resistance and reproduction of power in the society. According to these authors, the issue lies mostly in styles that distance us from the actual world that involves various social actions. First, Howarth and Colleagues (2013) propose a societal psychology approach that was established by Himmelweit and Gaskell (1990). The approach presents some hallmarks that identify the research issue and location of the real world. They also highlight some the societal change treatment as an objective and object of study as well. The two try to pay some attention towards the context of change from a complexity perspective where they seek to demonstrate an approach to politics that base on competing for interest and the truth of proceeding and often unpredictable processes of change. Significantly, societal psychology aims at drawing attention on how our practices and theories are applied in some of these procedures. They also suggest the need for participatory research tactics that involve some serious awareness of politics of change. Goff and Martin (2013) come up with a compelling case for a return to the period where laboratory and field research were well-thought-out to be significant towards social psychological advancement and towards the translation of various theories into practice. They, therefore, seek to describe the realities of politics that have constrained and shaped our individual endeavors. Just as some contributors would argue, our discipline needs to be concerned not only with explaining the social change but also being a representative of change. What people need to question themselves is why they fail to change and challenge the practices and systems of research that support evacuation from the society?


Cohen, G.L., and Sherman, D.K., 2014. The psychology of change: Self-affirmation and social-psychological intervention. Annual review of Psychology, 65, pp.333-371.

Dalton, R.J., 2014. The civic culture transformed: From Allegiant to assertive citizens. Cambridge University Press.

Dixon, J., Durrheim, K., Kerr, P., & Thomae, M. (2013). ‘What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding’? Further reflections on the limits of prejudice reduction as a model of social change. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), pp. 239-252.

Feldman, S. and Johnston, C., 2014. Understanding the determinants of political ideology: Implications of structural complexity. Political Psychology, 35(3), pp.337-358.

Goff, P.A., Mentovich, A. and Martin, K.D., 2013. (The Need for) A Model of Translational Mind Science Justice Research. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), pp.385-399.

Howarth, C., Campbell, C., Cornish, F., Franks, B., Garcia-Lorenzo, L., Gillespie, A., Tennant, C. (2013). Insights from Societal Psychology: The contextual politics of change. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), PP.364-384.

Horkheimer, M. and T.W. Adorno, 1972. Dialectic of Enlightenment, New York: Seabury, 7(7), pp.78-87

Pratto, F., Stewart, A. L., & Bou Zeineddine, F. (2013). When inequality fails: Power, group dominance, and societal change. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), PP.132-160.

Shnabel, N., & Nadler, A. (2008). A needs-based model of reconciliation: Satisfying the differential emotional needs of victim and perpetrator as a key to promoting reconciliation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(9), PP.116-132.

Shnabel, N., & Ullrich, J. (2013). Increasing intergroup cooperation toward social change by restoring advantaged and disadvantaged groups’ positive identities. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(5), PP.216-238

Smith, L.G., Thomas, E.F. and McGarty, C., 2015. “We must be the change we want to see in the world”: Integrating norms and identities through social interaction. Political Psychology, 36(5), pp.543-557.

Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33-47). Monterey, CA: Brooks-Cole.

Walker, I., & Smith, H. (Eds.). (2002). Relative deprivation: Specification, development, and integration. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. (Smith, Thomas and McGarty, 2015)

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