Neuropolitics of Political Behaviour

We shift the focus from 'manufactured' data generated by surveys, interviews and focus groups, by also measuring spontaneous expression of opinion online and experimentally exploring the neuro-biological correlates of political behaviour. Big data allow us to measure the dynamics of public opinion and how it reacts to real-world events and experimental interventions. Our expanded understanding of public opinion, including emotional, neural and physiological responses, and how to measure it, sheds fresh light on what drives individual and collective political action.

Neuropolitics of Public Policy

We examine the interaction between the policy environment, neural and physiological responses, individual personality characteristics and inter-group dynamics, to identify how these shape problem perceptions, public policy decisions, their implementation and public acceptance. Policy-makers operate in rapidly changing political, constitutional and technological environments, facing uncertainty and risk. Neuropolitical insights can help national and international policy-makers cope with unprecedented rates of change, volumes of information and levels of uncertainty in turbulent policy environments.

Neuropolitics of Identity

How does a sense of identity impact on our ability to process information? How do implicit identity triggers, or shifting contexts, impact on the perceived legitimacy or effectiveness of policies or political structures? Using experimental brain imaging techniques we ask what underpins a sense of social belonging and political obligation. We use neuroscientific insights to investigate how multimodal interactions (eg. vision, audition, imagery) provoke or prevent identity-related behaviours. We ask how these relate to a sense of societal belonging, to political attachment, loyalty, disaffection and public disengagement.

Neuropolitics of Political Communication

We ask how, in a new age of 'fake news' and 'bots', do citizens balance accuracy, (believing the truth) with consistency, (believing what they want to believe)? The scale and fragmentation of the digital media system raises questions about citizens' exposure and response to political information. We combine fMRI, physiological and behavioural experiments with observational big data analysis, to determine why some messages are perceived as authoritative or authentic, and use these insights to design information environments better able to foster a sense of security, legitimacy and trust.