Group Dynamics and the Public Sphere

Voting Behavior

Why do people vote?

Because voter turnout is essential to a democracy, psychologists have joined with political scientists to study the factors that motivate people to vote. If you look at it from a classic rationalist view of costs and benefits, you can argue that it doesn’t make much sense to vote. Voting takes time, energy, and even money if you have to miss a day of work to get to the polling place. And any single person is unlikely to feel that his or her vote will change the outcome of an election. Nonetheless, people do vote and their participation in electoral politics remains critical for the survival of the democratic system. Psychologists and their colleagues in other fields have considered the possible motivations for voting. Among other factors, they have suggested the role of habit, social pressure, altruism, and even genetics.


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