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Psychologists explain why we are so apathetic about the UK general election

Date:
April 21, 2015
Source:
British Psychological Society (BPS)
Summary:
If you are not feeling enthused by the general election, you are not alone. A new article quotes research finding that, in the UK, 31 per cent of people trust the government and only 20 per cent trust political parties. The article interviews several psychologists and other academics about possible reasons for this disillusion with politics.
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If you are not feeling enthused by the general election, you are not alone. An article in the May issue of The Psychologist magazine quotes research finding that, in the UK, 31 per cent of people trust the government and only 20 per cent trust political parties.

The article, by Ella Rhodes, interviews several psychologists and other academics about possible reasons for this disillusion with politics.

Professor Steve Reicher (University of St Andrews) says: "The end of the Soviet Union, the narrowing of ideological alternatives, and the feeling that all politicians are the same (and generally not in a good way) has increased the perception 'that they are all as bad as each other', and that electoral choice is therefore illusory."

Dr Nicole Gillespie (University of Queensland) says: "Over-promising and under-delivering is a guaranteed way to erode the trust and confidence of the public. Politicians need to better manage expectations about what they can deliver."

Professor James Martin (Goldsmiths, University of London) says: "Political behaviour is often not very rational at all -- what grips us instinctively may be any number of things that speak to an unacknowledged sense of hurt or anger, loss or potential fulfilment."

The article in the May issue of The Psychologist can be found at: http://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-28/may-2015/back-ballot-box


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Materials provided by British Psychological Society (BPS). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


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British Psychological Society (BPS). "Psychologists explain why we are so apathetic about the UK general election." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150421084533.htm>.
British Psychological Society (BPS). (2015, April 21). Psychologists explain why we are so apathetic about the UK general election. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150421084533.htm
British Psychological Society (BPS). "Psychologists explain why we are so apathetic about the UK general election." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150421084533.htm (accessed May 25, 2017).

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