The Development of Political Thought
Politics is not just about voting or membership in a party. These political behaviors are the public manifestation of a complex web of social-cognitive processes. I will argue that this web—political thought—is best understood in light of its development. Although children in most societies don’t vote or become members of a party, from a young age their reasoning about the social world already anticipates, and helps to explain, the patterns of political behavior observed among adults. I will illustrate this argument with cross-cultural data on the development of (1) partisanship, (2) concepts of political leadership, and (3) political ideology.