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Understanding our Political Nature

  • July 2019
  • EU and governance
  • Topics in science
  • Practical guide or toolkit
  • Report
JRC report: Understanding our political nature. Credit: Angelo Cordeschi and xamtiw © AdobeStock, 2019

In July 2019, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, published the report “Understanding our Political Nature: how to put knowledge and reason at the heart of political decision making”.

Recognising that advances in behavioural, decision and social sciences demonstrate that we are not purely rational beings, this report brings new insights into our political behaviour and this understanding have the potential to address some of the current crises in our democracies.

Sixty experts from across the globe working in the fields of behavioural and social sciences as well as the humanities, have contributed to the research that underpins this JRC report that calls upon evidence-informed policymaking not to be taken for granted.

There is a chapter dedicated to each key finding which outlines the latest scientific thinking as well as an overview of the possible implications for policymaking.

The findings are grouped under seven chapters:

  • Misperception and Disinformation
  • Collective Intelligence
  • Emotions
  • Values and Identities drive political behaviour but are not properly understood or debated.
  • Framing, Metaphor and Narrative
  • Trust and Openness
  • Evidence-informed policymaking

Read the full report here

Reference: Mair D., Smillie L., La Placa G., Schwendinger F., Raykovska M., Pasztor Z., van Bavel R., Understanding our political nature: How to put knowledge and reason at the heart of political decision-making, EUR 29783 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019, ISBN 978-92-76-08621-5, doi:10.2760/374191, JRC117161


  • misinformation
  • Evidence-informed policymaking
  • decision making
  • JRC
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