We are delighted to welcome Brian back to speak to us. He is Professor of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is former president of the Psychological Society of Ireland and a prominent advocate for scientific psychology, evidence-based policy, and the role of psychology in society. Below is an abstract of his lecture:
The Psychology of Brexit: From Psychodrama to Behavioural Science
Brexit is a true psychodrama. As such, it has attracted a huge amount of media analysis of its psychological underpinnings. Commentators have sought to explain Brexit in terms of imperialism, classism, xenophobia, nostalgia, masochism, mental derangement, low intelligence, authoritarianism, susceptibility to manipulation by social media, and many other culprits. Virtually all of this commentary is speculative, polemical, and partisan. Indeed, the psychobabble surrounding Brexit is part of the mayhem that causes social division and political chaos. This lecture will set out how scientific research can shed empirical light on the psychology of Brexit, by showing how events are shaped by people's perceptions, preferences, choices, self-images, attitudes, assumptions, group relations, and reasoned (or ill-reasoned) conclusions. By looking at the true psychological causes, catalysts, and consequences of Brexit, we will examine what Brexit can teach us about ourselves, and what we can do to deal with its short-term impact and long-term fallout.
Brian has just published an excellent book on this topic which you may wish to treat yourself to for a good read over the festive season.