So far, political motivations have been the domain of social psychology. It is only a matter of time, however, before researchers begin to bridge the disciplines of political science and neuroscience.
We can see the first steps toward this in a new article, and there are two things I like about it:
- It studies the relationship between moral emotions and politics, a topic close to my own interests.
- It has a descriptive title. It’s rare in academe, and something to be treasured when you find it.
Here it is:
- Sabrina J. Pagano, Yuen J. Huo. The Role of Moral Emotions in Predicting Support for Political Actions in Post-War Iraq Political Psychology (2007) 28 (2), 227–255.
Our findings demonstrate the utility of an emotion-specific framework for understanding why and what type of political actions individuals will support. And in contrast to the traditional view that emotions are an impediment to rationality, our findings suggest that they can serve as a potentially powerful vehicle for motivating political engagement among the citizenry.
While the article’s bibliography does not include studies of moral emotions undertaken in neuroscience, I would be surprised if the year concludes without a paper being published on this very topic. Here’s hoping neuroethicists make use of live political issues to investigate the relationship between moral emotions and political ideologies.