Understanding Self-Interest: A Concept Bridging the Gap between Psychology and Politics Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Benz, Jennifer Kirstin
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Self-interest is a concept germane to many theories in economics, political science, and psychology. Although somewhat obscured by different terminology, such as vested interest or personal relevance, the function of self-interest as a motivating force for individuals is prominent in some of the most widely discussed and contested social science theories of this generation. While many of these theories assume self-interest as a prime motivator of individual thought and behavior, other theories challenge that notion directly. Furthermore, empirical evidence can be readily cited to support both positions. Evidence in social psychology research supports the notion of self-interest as an important and relatively consistent force in the formation, structure, and expression of attitudes. However, a more disjointed body of empirical evidence in the political science literature finds self-interest to be an inconsistent and relatively weak predictor of political and policy attitudes and be
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Carsey, Thomas M.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2011

This work has no parents.