Skip main navigation

How do people form beliefs? A view from Psychology

Film Interview: How do people form beliefs? - Richard Tunney (Psychology)

Richard Tunney was an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Nottingham. Since 2018 he has been a Professor in the School of Life & Health Sciences at Aston University.

In this conversation with Maiken, Richard explains that experimental psychologists use laboratory experiments to show that people act more ‘rationally’, i.e. in accordance with their political principles or beliefs, when they are making decisions affecting people they do not know – but that decisions we make affecting our own lives or those close to us (family, friends or members of a closely-knit community) are guided by more intuitive, ‘irrational’ motives.

Do you accept this distinction? And is Richard right in claiming that motives born out of identification and empathy are not political – or are they just a form of politics that we have internalised so deeply that we no longer recognise it as political?

This article is from the free online

Propaganda and Ideology in Everyday Life

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now