The Personality Attributes of Political Elites

  • Gian Vittorio Caprara
  • Jo Silvester


This chapter reviews previous and current research on different psychological characteristics that can influence politicians’ success. Personality is defined as a self-regulatory system that mediates the relationship between a person and their environment, and accounts for features that distinguish individuals from one another in the domains of cognition, motivation, and behavior. An overview is provided of the major constructs that have been investigated in relation to politicians’ personality and the methods that have been used to study them. The use of self-report methods to investigate the traits, values, and self-beliefs of large samples of politicians, which enable comparisons between politicians and voters, within and across nations, is discussed. Findings suggest that personality attributes are important in helping explain the emergence and behavior of political elites but that much remains for future researchers to explore.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gian Vittorio Caprara
    • 1
  • Jo Silvester
    • 2
  1. 1.Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.City University of LondonLondonUK

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