University of Cambridge > > Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) > Reconsidering the relationship between personality and politics

Reconsidering the relationship between personality and politics

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  • UserBert Bakker (Amsterdam)
  • ClockWednesday 09 March 2022, 16:00-17:00
  • Housevia zoom .

If you have a question about this talk, please contact David Young.

Decades of research establish a robust correlation between personality traits and the political ideology of adults. The dominant perspective contends that individual differences in psychological needs drive the connection between traits and political ideology and, in doing so, give rise to an asymmetry between liberals and conservatives. In particular, individuals who prefer structure and order and are more sensitive to threats find solace and comfort in conservative approaches to politics. As intuitive as this perspective seems, the majority of the evidence supporting this claim comes from cross-sectional research in which self-reported personality traits are correlated with self-reported ideology. Yet, there is a small, but growing body of research that cast some doubt that personality traits have an unmediated, direct casual effect on ideology. In this talk I will discuss some of my recent and ongoing work that casts further doubt on the assumed personality-politics relationship. I will provide evidence that this relationship is more complex and reciprocal. I will support this with evidence from population based panel studies, cohort studies that follow kids into adulthood, survey experiments and laboratory experiments. Based upon this work, I will outline an agenda for the next generation of personality-politics research that takes into account the reciprocal relationship between politics and personality as well as the role of mediators and moderators of this relationship.

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This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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