Why and How Psychology Matters

Kathleen M. McGraw

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Why and How Psychology Matters

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  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Behaviour



This article examines the relevance of psychology in contextual political analysis. It outlines a general theoretical perspective that proposes that human behaviour is a function of both individual and situational forces and describes how both individual differences and situational forces have illuminated our understanding of the contextual determinants of political phenomena. It comments on social scientist Kurt Lewin's work on the person-situation controversy and offers some thoughts on the potential tension between a focus on contextual effects and theory development.

Keywords: psychology; contextual political analysis; human behaviour; situational forces; political phenomena; Kurt Lewin; person-situation controversy; contextual effects; theory development

Article.  11185 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Behaviour

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