Monday 6 July 2009

Ticking boxes

  • Extroverted? Moderately.
  • Disagreeable? Decidedly.
  • Conscientious? Reasonably.
  • Stable? Rather.
  • Open? Moderately.

It seems I fit the profile.
A compelling recent paper by Alan Gerber and co-authors shows that personality and ideology are closely linked. Liberals are markedly higher in Openness and lower in Conscientiousness. Gerber et al's real contribution, though, comes when they distinguish social ideology from economic ideology. (It's almost as if they were inspired by the World's Shortest Political Quiz!)

For social liberalism, they once again find that it is associated with higher Openness and lower Conscientiousness. For economic liberalism (in the American sense of lower support for free-market policies), though, they get a much more thorough profile. Economic liberals are less Extroverted, more Agreeable, less Conscientious, less Stable (i.e. more Neurotic), and more Open. Or if you flip the perspective, free-marketeers are more Extroverted, less Agreeable, more Conscientious, more Stable, and less Open.

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