Personality Traits and the Consumption of Political Information
American Politics Research, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 32-84, 2011
Posted: 7 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 4, 2011
In this article, we examine the relationship between dispositional personality traits (the Big Five) and the consumption of political information. We present detailed hypotheses about the characteristics of the political environment that are likely to affect the appeal of politics and political information in general for individuals with different personalities as well as hypotheses about how personality affects the attractiveness of particular sources of political information. We find that the Big Five traits are significant predictors of political interest and knowledge as well as consumption of different types of political media. Openness (the degree to which a person needs intellectual stimulation and variety) and Emotional Stability (characterized by low levels of anxiety) are associated with a broad range of engagement with political information and political knowledge. The other three Big Five traits, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Extraversion, are associated only with consumption of specific types of political information.
Keywords: personality traits, Big Five, political interest, political knowledge, news consumption, social psychology
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation