Studying the Personality of Political Leaders in the Caribbean from a Distance

26 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2013

Date Written: December 26, 2013


Measuring the personality of political leaders from a distance in order to explain behavior is a reliable method that is useful for Caribbean scholars studying political leadership. The words of leaders reveal their psychological states. Despite the facilitative research environment, the personality-politics researchers in the Caribbean used a single variable instead of the traits, motives, cognition, and situation interaction. Methodologically, a sample of at least 1,000 words from a range of spontaneous interviews and data from multiple sources and topics should be used. The traits, motive, and cognition of leaders should be coded, scored, and analyzed with a multisource-generated psychobiography. The personality analysis and the psychobiography can stand alone, but a mixed method is more useful. Political behavior should be explained and predicted within if/then situational contingencies, contexts, environmental constraints and flexibilities, feedback, and levels of analysis. Personality has been used to explain authoritarianism, war, elections, statecraft, political performance and appeal, character, and hubris. Scientific research on leadership that reaches the public will inform Caribbean polity. This research should be done by trained professionals in order to avoid substandard personality assessments that can destroy the reputation and careers of politicians and do psychological harm.

Keywords: Caribbean, Political Leaders, Personality, From a Distance Measures

Suggested Citation

Charles, Christopher, Studying the Personality of Political Leaders in the Caribbean from a Distance (December 26, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Charles (Contact Author)

University of the West Indies ( email )

Kingston 7
Mona, Mona Kingston 7

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