Feature Stories

Politics & Polls #31: The Cognitive Science of ‘Trumpology’

Feb 15, 2017
By:
Julian Zelizer & Sam Wang (produced by B. Rose Kelly and edited by Bonelys Rosado)
Source:
Woodrow Wilson School

Donald Trump’s presidency has evoked strong emotional and psychological responses from both the public and the president himself, raising issues not often brought forth in public policy and governance.

Many, including members of the media, are trying to make sense of this complicated web of anger, passion, rationality and irrationality. Among those reporters is Jesse Singal of New York Magazine, who is bringing the social sciences into the news amid an often-heated environment.

In this episode of Politics & Polls, professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang interview Singal and discuss, among other topics, his recent articles on fear among conservatives and how the “contact hypothesis” — when members from different groups interact — can diminish prejudice and hatred. 

Singal is a writer-at-large at New York Magazine, where, among other things, he covers social science, politics and weird internet subcultures. He’s an alumnus of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

ABOUT THE HOSTS

Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 
Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." Zelizer is a frequent commentator in the international and national media on political history and contemporary politics. He has published more than 600 hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.com

Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum and autism.