Perception of Political Leaders in Modern School Students (A Psychosemantic Research)



The paper presents results of an empirical study on the features of perception of political leaders in modern high school students. The data was collected in the beginning of 2014, when the political situation in Russia was unstable, mostly due to the effects of the events in Ukraine. The study involved 110 students of 10— 11 grades of Moscow schools (67 boys, 43 girls) aged from 15 to 18. A method of semantic differential was used: the subjects were asked to assess 29 political leaders, Russian as well as foreign, plus such categories as ‘myself’, ‘my ideal’, ‘ideal political leader’ and ‘antipathetic person’ according to 33 semantic characteristics (scales). As it is shown, the structure of the attitude to political leaders in late adolescents is built around three generalized semantic indicators: ‘intelligence, power’, ‘tolerance’ and ‘ambition’. The way that the adolescent subjects perceive political leaders of the Soviet Union and modern Russia suggests that there is an obvious decrease in the significance of positive characteristics related the moral qualities of the leader.

General Information

Keywords: political psychology, political socialization, semantic differential, attitude to political leaders, personality profiles of politicians

Journal rubric: Experimental Research

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Sobkin V.S., Mnatsakanyan M.A. Perception of Political Leaders in Modern School Students (A Psychosemantic Research) . Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2015. Vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 41–59. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2015060404. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Vladimir S. Sobkin, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, Head of the Center for Sociology of Education, Institute of Education Management, Center for Modern Problems of Modern Education at the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Milena A. Mnatsakanyan, Junior Research Fellow, Centre of Sociology of Education, Institute of Education Management of the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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