The Big Five Personality Traits in the Political Arena

Posted: 12 May 2011

See all articles by Alan Gerber

Alan Gerber

Yale University - Department of Political Science; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science

David Doherty

Yale University

Conor Dowling

Yale University

Date Written: June 2011

Abstract

Recent political science research on the effects of core personality traits — the Big Five — contributes to our understanding of how people interact with their political environments. This research examines how individual-level variations in broad, stable psychological characteristics affect individual-level political outcomes. In this article, we review recent work that uses the Big Five to predict political attitudes and behavior. We also replicate some of these analyses using new data to examine the possibility that prior findings stem from sampling error or unique political contexts. Finally, we discuss several of the challenges faced by scholars who are currently pursuing or are interested in pursuing this line of inquiry. These challenges include refining theoretical explanations of how the Big Five shape political outcomes, addressing important measurement concerns, and resolving inconsistencies across studies.

Suggested Citation

Gerber, Alan and Huber, Gregory and Doherty, David and Dowling, Conor, The Big Five Personality Traits in the Political Arena (June 2011). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 14, pp. 265-287, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1839115 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051010-111659

Alan Gerber (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432-5232 (Phone)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

David Doherty

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Conor Dowling

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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