Westen, Drew 1959–
Westen, Drew 1959–
Office—Laboratory of Personality and Psychopathology, Emory University, 308 Psychology Bldg., 532 Kilgo Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, educator. Emory University, Atlanta, GA, professor of psychology and director of Laboratory of Personality and Psychopathology. Also taught at University of Michigan and Harvard Medical School, and served as chief psychologist at Cambridge Hospital, Cambridge, MA. Commentator on "All Things Considered," National Public Radio.
Psychology: Mind, Brain, and Culture, John Wiley (New York, NY), 1996, 5th edition (with Robin M. Kowalski), 2009.
The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, PublicAffairs (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to books, including The Self In Emotional Distress: Cognitive And Psychodynamic Perspectives, edited by Zindel V. Segal and Sidney J. Blatt, Guilford Press (New York, NY), 1992; Emotions in Psychopathology: Theory and Research, edited by William F. Flack and James D. Laird, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998; Personality and Psychopathology, edited by Robert F. Krueger and Jennifer L. Tackett, Guilford Press (New York, NY), 2006. Contributor to periodicals, including Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, American Journal of Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology Review, and Journal of Personality Disorders.
Drew Westen, a professor of psychology and director of the Laboratory of Personality and Psychopathology at Emory University, previously taught at the University of Michigan and Harvard Medical School and served as chief psychologist at the Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. In the work, Westen looks at the role of emotion in American politics, arguing that voters reach emotionally based conclusions and that Democratic candidates have fared poorly in recent national elections because they have failed to engage the voters' passions. "The Democrats' belief in ‘the dispassionate vision of the mind’ has an honorable lineage going back to the Age of Reason and is useful for other purposes in life," Michael Tomasky remarked in the New York Review of Books. "But Westen suggests that electorally, it's a total loser: Republicans understand what the philosopher David Hume recognized three centuries ago: that reason is a slave to emotion, not the other way around." Westen cites numerous examples of the Democrats' strategic missteps in debates, speeches, and ads, and he offers advice on how to reshape political rhetoric so that it appeals to the electorate. Though Washington Post Book World reviewer Chris Lehmann stated that the author's "case would be stronger if he tendered persuasive campaign advice," Tomasky offered a more positive assessment, commenting, "Westen's recommended language—on issues ranging from abortion to gay rights to terrorism to taxes to race to the nature of modern conservatism—is at least an improvement over what the Democrats say currently and at best exhilarating to imagine."
In his introduction to The Political Brain, Westen writes: "This book is aimed at readers interested in how the mind works, how the brain works, and what this means for why candidates win and lose elections. Its intended audience includes readers interested in politics, psychology, leadership, neuroscience, marketing, and law…. If this book doesn't read like the typical book on politics or political strategy, it's because it asks a question seldom asked by political pundits or political scientists: How would candidates for public office run their campaigns if they started with an understanding of how the minds and brains of voters actually work?"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Campaigns & Elections, September, 2007, Theodora A. Blanchfeld, review of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, p. 57.
Contemporary Sociology, September, 1987, Guy E. Swanson, review of Self and Society: Narcissism, Collectivism, and the Development of Morals, p. 705.
Ethics, January, 1987, Robert E. Goodin, review of Self and Society, p. 495.
Library Journal, November 1, 1985, Robert E. Goodin, review of Self and Society, p. 102.
New York Review of Books, May 31, 2007, Michael Tomasky, "How Democrats Should Talk," review of The Political Brain, p. 26.
New York Times Book Review, August 26, 2007, David Brooks, "Stop Making Sense," review of The Political Brain, p. 13.
SciTech Book News, June, 2005, review of Psychology: Mind, Brain, and Culture, p. 1.
USA Today, July 5, 2007, Jill Lawrence, "Democrats Get Advice on How to Talk about Issues," review of The Political Brain, p. 4A.
Washington Post Book World, July 15, 2007, Chris Lehmann, "Psyched," review of The Political Brain, p. 4.
Emory University Web site,http://www.emory.edu/ (May 10, 2008), biography of Drew Westen.