Department of Political Science

Dominant Leaders and the Political Psychology of Followership

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What is the psychology underlying preferences for dominant political leaders? Against earlier theories about authoritarianism and submissiveness, recent research shows that followers strategically promote dominant individuals to leadership positions in order to enhance their ability to aggress against other groups. Thus, recent evidence supports the existence of dedicated mechanisms for generating summary impressions of the dominance of potential leaders from a wealth of cues. Furthermore, research demonstrates how preferences for dominant leaders are heightened in contexts of conflict and among individuals prone to view the social world as conflictual. At the same time, this research shows that followers intuitively fear exploitation from dominant leaders and the political psychology of followership also contains dedicated mechanisms for identifying and counteracting such exploitation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Pages (from-to)136-141
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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