Welcome to the Machine: A Model of Legislator Personality and Communications Technology Adoption
39 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2015 Last revised: 4 Jan 2016
Date Written: January 3, 2016
Political scientists have long considered ideology, partisanship, and constituency in determining how members of the United States Congress make decisions. Meanwhile, psychologists have held that personality traits play central roles in decision-making. Here, we bridge these literatures by offering a framework for modeling how personality influences legislative behavior. Drawing from experimental economics and neuropsychology, we identify core cognitive constraints for the “Big Five” personality model, parameterizing them in ways useful for crafting formal models of legislative behavior. We then show one example of the applicability of this framework by creating a formal decision-theoretic model of constituency communication. We show that when there exists uncertainty over the true state of the world, personality traits have more influence on individual decisions.
Keywords: formal models, personality psychology, Bayesian learning, decision theory
JEL Classification: D7, D72, D78, D8, D81, D83, D84
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