International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

6G The relationship of life experience to political orientation: personal stories of social scientis

(Session Organizer) Ervin Staub, University of Massachusetts at Amherst; (Chair) Ervin Staub, University of Massachusetts at Amherst; (Discussant) Nick Hopkins, Universit

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Research Area: Political culture, identity, and language

The presenters in this session have done a great deal of research and
writing in political psychology and group violence. They have had similar childhood experiences, at least in general terms: all three of them were Jewish children at the time of the Holocaust in Hungary, a country in which out of about 600 thousand Jews, only about 150 thousand survived. However, they drew different lessons from their experiences during the Holocaust, a difference that has influenced their research foci; and while all of them have strong political orientations, they are quite different from each other. The goal of this session is for them to examine the specific details of their experiences, both early experiences and to the extent relevant later ones, as a way to come to understand the relationship between life experience and their views of the world and political orientations. The discussion will aim to provide impetus to research on the relationship between significant life experiences, at least of a certain kind, and political orientations.