The Political Psychology Specialist Group is a multi-disciplinary group established to provide a forum for collaboration, discussion and support for political psychology scholars and practitioners as well as to facilitate the dissemination of political psychology research to relevant political and social institutions and the broader public. We have worked with colleagues in Psychology to twin this group with a sister section that was recently established in the British Psychological Society (BPS). We have close ties with other national and international political psychology groups, as well as practitioners in health care, education and, of course, government and politics.

Follow us on Twitter: @PSA_PolPsy

Political psychology research seminars

30th November, 16.00-17.30 (UK time)
George Melios, LSE
Origin of (A)symmetry: The Evolution of Out-Party Distrust in the United States (view paper here)

Research in political psychology suggests that conservatives are more certainty-seeking than liberals, which makes them less receptive to information that conflicts with their political identity and more predisposed towards in-group/out-group bias. As a consequence, some argue that polarization is stronger on the right than on the left and that conservatives are more likely to support governments run by their own side and more distrustful of governments run by their political opponents. This so-called asymmetric president-in-power effect might tilt the political playing field in favor of Republicans. The current paper calls into question some of these findings by examining the evolution of the president-in-power effect between 1974 and 2021. Mirroring the general rise in polarization, we document a steady increase in the effect both on the right and on the left. Contrasting the narrative that polarization is stronger on the right, however, we find evidence that the president-in-power effect has grown stronger among Democrats than Republicans. To explain this finding, we show that highly educated people, who display a stronger president-in-power effect than lower educated people, have shifted towards the left in recent years. Taken together, our results paint a nuanced picture of asymmetric polarization picture that highlights the importance of studying the evolution of partisan biases over time.

Register for this event here.
If this link does not take you to a MS Teams registration page, try the link in the Edge browser. If this does not work, you can register by emailing Ben Seyd (


Previous seminars (available to view on our YouTube channel)

19 Sept 2023 (Katharina Lawall, University of London)
Angry losers? The effects of feeling electoral loss on anti-democratic attitudes

6 June 2023 (Matthew Barnfield and Rob Johns, Essex)
'Hope, Optimism and Expectations in Politics'

If you would like to present your research at a future seminar, please contact Ben Seyd

Contact Us


Raynee Gutting
University of Essex

Jac Larner
Cardiff University

Ben Seyd
University of Kent

Tabitha A. Baker
Bournemouth University 

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Group Events

Specialist Group event
30 Nov

Origin of (A)symmetry: The Evolution of Out-Party Distrust in the United States (view paper ...