Personality determinants of political orientation and nation-state political systems

Erik Beuck, The College of Wooster


In recent years the examination of personality traits as they relate to real world phenomena and political orientations has sharply risen in importance. One such grouping of traits that has been particular important are the Big Five traits of openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Expanding on this research in the first of two distinct studies, this paper attempts to further experimental support for the relationship between the Big Five and political orientations (American Party affiliations and political ideologies), and provide empirical evidence to the link between three lesser examined personality traits (Machiavellianism, Self-Reported Altruism and Social Dominance Orientation) to both political orientations and the Big Five. The second study utilizes data from a previously conducted meta-analysis of Big Five personality distributions among 56 states and recently reported ratings of the Human Development Index, the Global Peace Index, and the Democracy Index to determine the relationships between personality traits to macro socio-political phenomena. Results indicate a number of significant findings that provide greater insight into the socio-political world and provide a number of important avenues for future research.