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The Big Five Personality Traits in the Political Arena

by Alan S Gerber, Gregory A Huber, David Doherty, Conor M Dowling
Annu. Rev. Polit. Sci ()
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Recent political science research on the effects of core personality traits—the Big Five—contributes to our understanding of how peo-ple interact with their political environments. This research examines how individual-level variations in broad, stable psychological charac-teristics 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 pur-suing 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.

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