Part 3: Psychology Within Politics – The EU Referendum

Part 3: Psychology Within Politics – The EU Referendum

by Daisy Sunderalingam - 16th June, 2016


Safety & Immigration


Another position held by the ‘remain’ supporters is that we are safer and resilient as part of the EU in relation to the European Arrest Warrant and the option to join our forces together with the EU to fight global threats.  Campaigners suggest that fighting cross-border crime with the European Arrest Warrant is safer as opposed to fighting ‘alone’.  Risk in general is often an undesirable action when the gains of said risk are unclear and the potential loss is great.  Inciting uncertainty and again scaremongering in this instance could sway undecided voters to vote to ‘stay’, as there is much to lose concerning safety as proposed by the ‘in’ supporters.  Voting to ‘leave’ could potentially be dangerous, the risk to individual and global safety would weigh more in comparison to other less influential and prospective ‘gains’ that are put forth from leaving the EU.


Other arguments made by the Brexit campaigners focus on the issue of controlling migration.  ‘Leave’ activists say it is impossible to control immigration whilst remaining in the EU, that wages are at a low due to the number of immigrants and our ‘public services are strained’.  Another wholly negative position from the ‘out’ camp, this time instilling a fear of others could significantly sway a voter’s decision, though it has been found that voters tend to dislike negative campaigns, we cannot help but focus more on the negative than positive.  Psychological research shows us that negative information effects our opinions and viewpoints more intensely than equally powerful positive information.  This is referred to as a negativity bias and plays a huge part in politics.  For instance, the argument that immigration is good for Britain’s economy may appear weaker and have less influence to voters than arguments from ‘leave’ campaigners who suggest that high immigration has caused a significant drop in wages for Britain.  Due to this bias, many political arguments surrounding the EU referendum are rooted in negativity relating to the opposition’s perspective.


Daisy Sunderalingam

Daisy Sunderalingam

I am an aspiring Clinical Psychologist hoping to complete a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the near future. Last year I graduated with a First Class Honours BSc in Psychology, currently I am studying for an MSc in Occupational Psychology. Once qualified I plan to combine Clinical and Occupational to provide interventions for those suffering with neurodiversity and physical disabilities, with the objective to help these individuals successfully enter the world of employment.

Read more about my approach to counselling here...

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