The One Personality Trait That Won Donald Trump the Presidency

The race for the U.S. presidency has come to an explosive end. Recount battles aside, it appears that Donald J. Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States. Trump has promised radical and immediate policy changes, in contrast with Clinton's more nuanced proposals. But was it Trump's policy proposals that won him the presidency, or is something else at play?

What's striking about this election is that both candidates were perhaps the most unpopular in history—more unpopular even than Richard Nixon, who researchers repeatedly rank as the nation's most disagreeable president. The media has made much of their radically different personal styles. Clinton was often described as cold, calculating, and distant, while Trump has been characterized as narcissistic, inflammatory, and vulgar...or perhaps a man who is simply playing a role.

Not only do these characterizations make for entertaining reading, they may give valuable insight as to how Donald Trump, a man with no political experience, set himself up to become the most powerful man in the country.

Let's take a closer look.

The Big Five Personality Inventory

There are numerous ways to categorize personality, but for the purposes of this discussion, we're going to focus on the Big Five framework. The Big Five theory describes personality based on where a person sits on the following dimensions:

  • Openness to experience: imaginative, curious, forward-thinking, receptive to new ideas
  • Conscientiousness: diligent, rule abiding, disciplined, organized
  • Extroversion: enthusiastic, action-oriented, sociable, reward-seeking
  • Agreeableness: compassionate, generous, cooperative, caring for others
  • Neuroticism: anxious, depressive or negative tendencies, emotionally reactive

While Trump shows sky-high levels of Extroversion, the more interesting issue is another trait—namely, openness to experience. The higher an individual scores on Openness, the more intellectually curious, imaginative and receptive they are. The lower an individual scores on Openness, the more down-to-earth, conventional and resistant to change they are. Intellectuals tend to score highly on Openness, although intellect is perhaps a consequence of Openness rather than the other way around.

People high in Openness are often described as more "cultured" by academic researchers, who may themselves be highly open to experience. But a closed style of thinking may actually be a strong marker of political success. In their book, Personality, Character, and Leadership In The White House, researchers Steven J. Rubenzer and Thomas R. Faschingbauer rank George W. Bush as especially low on openness—a president who tended to be risk averse, realistic and purposeful.

People who have a less Open, more concrete thinking style are the realists of the world. They tend to excel in law enforcement and the military, practical careers such as manufacturing, construction and logistics, and administrative occupations.

Is Trump Low on Openness?

If there's one thing we cannot accuse President-Elect Trump of, it is subtlety. In a way that other politicians have avoided doing, Trump displays his personality, attitudes, and viewpoints unapologetically for all to see. So what can we observe about Trump's level of Openness?

Less Open people hold convictions strongly and rarely question their beliefs. Combined with Trump's high level of Extroversion, we can imagine a president who is inclined to make big, bold decisions, and to make them with the confidence that he could not possibly be wrong.

In particular, scoring lower on Openness is associated with traits like absolutism, or seeing the world in a black-and-white way with little tolerance of "otherness." This brings to mind the repeated calls to "build the wall!" and demands "for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on."

Another feature of low Openness is conservatism, in the sense of valuing tradition—to "Make America Great Again," as Trump's campaign slogan said. Touting himself as the job-creating president, Trump has aspirations of creating a booming economy that will create 25 million new jobs over the next decade. This is a noble aspiration, but it's Trump's choice of language that is significant. There's no talk of technological innovations or expanding the global economy. Instead, Trump plans a round of conservative tax cutting and tearing up trade deals—taking the US back to the way it was before, when things were better. "I'll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places," Trump promised. "I'll bring back our jobs, and I'll bring back our money." 

Can we say with absolute certainty that Trump is low in Openness? Like most of the debate surrounding Trump, the issue is not clear-cut. As a real estate developer, he certainly hasn't prided himself on his conservatism. His massive personal fortune—and repeated bankruptcies—are testimony to his risk-taking behavior, which is not necessarily present in a more concrete thinking style.

So perhaps Trump's true nature is more middle-of-the-road, but the persona he has adopted for his political career is a textbook example of low Openness. Trump's communication during the campaign has been consistently simple, concrete, and straightforward. His promises to improve the United States entail a return to the past, not a launch into the future. 

What about Hillary?

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, appears to be very high in Openness. As a young woman, she sought out leadership positions when it was somewhat unusual in that era, and she has ambitiously pursued her career despite gender role expectations. The willingness to challenge authority, convention and traditional values is a classic sign of Openness, and one that is associated with a more progressive political orientation.

Intellect plays an important role in Openness. Abstract thinkers are typically open-minded to new ideas, and like to debate intellectual issues. Concrete thinkers, on the other hand, prefer dealing with things or people rather than ideas and typically regard intellectual rhetoric as a waste of time.

You'll often hear Open personalities talking in terms of abstractions and symbols rather than concrete, physical experience. Although Hillary Clinton makes an effort to inject her speeches with folksy, real-life stories, the bulk of her communication focuses on big ideas and complex policy proposals. Supporters call her approach "adult," while critics point out that her complicated treatments of various key issues tend to bore and alienate large swaths of the American public.

For better or for worse, Hillary Clinton's approach shows considerably more Openness than Donald Trump's.

The Electorate

It is problematic to talk about the electorate as if they were a single personality profile, when clearly they are not. But we can make some observations about the typical Trump supporter; the people who cast their vote in his favor, according to the exit polls.

This is where things get interesting. Because the profile of a typical Trump supporter—a rural, white, middle-income male who wants a return to simpler, more traditional way of life—also fits the profile of someone low in Openness.

People with lower scores on Openness prefer the security and stability brought by tradition. They favor the straightforward, the practical and the obvious over the metaphorical, the ambiguous, and the complex. They may regard the arts and culture with suspicion, regarding these endeavors as puzzling or of no practical value. In addition, concrete thinkers are more likely to prefer hands-on jobs such as manufacturing—jobs that have been disappearing from the economy, and which Trump has promised to restore.

In the political domain, people who score low on the Openness scale are more suspicious of liberal ideology with its love of new ideas, sympathy for difference, and preference for novelty. Concrete thinkers like simple ideas—yet the world we live in is not simple. Rather, it is complex and global, a fact that can cause anxiety for those who long for the familiar. Trump tapped into these anxieties and promised his supporters that he would make them feel secure in the world.

Trump's plain language, practical ideas, and promises about restoring a more traditional way of life were spot-on to appeal to concrete thinkers. And one suspects that Trump knew it, and deliberately played on these concerns. In a fascinating analysis of Trump's personality in the Atlantic, psychologist Dan P. McAdams describes an incident on the campaign trail in Raleigh, North Carolina, when Trump repeatedly said that "something bad is happening" and "something really dangerous is going on." A 12-year-old girl from Virginia, told him, "I'm scared—what are you going to do to protect this country?" Trump responded: "You know what, darling? You're not going to be scared anymore. They're going to be scared."

Why voters swing the way they do

How do voters decide to support a particular candidate? It's a million-dollar question and one that poll predictors repeatedly get wrong. Many political scientists argue that it comes down to "valence": issues, not related to policy, that boost a candidate's appeal such as gender, attractiveness, or—you guessed it—personality.

And that, perhaps, is where Trump went so right, and Clinton went so wrong. Support for traditional values, fear of those who are different, and a resistance to new ideas play a key role in how people make up their minds in an election. Trump spotted this, and leveraged those fault lines to his ultimate advantage.

Back in 2008, YouGov asked people a number of questions that identified their preferences on the Big Five personality inventory. Three years later, it asked those same people what they thought about Donald Trump. The correlation was significant. People who scored lower on Openness rated Mr. Trump more than 20 percentage points higher than those who scored higher on Openness.

These differences played out in the election with startling effect. As a final piece of evidence, take a look at this map published by the Wall Street Journal. It shows how each state ranks on the Big Five trait of Openness. Now take a look at this map of the 2016 election results. Compare these two maps, then tell me: how do you think personality traits influenced the outcome of the election?

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.


Jackie koski (not verified) says...

Molly, enjoyed your article very much. Wanted to see openness map but link was not working.

Kathryn Humphrey (not verified) says...

So which myersbriggs is President Trump?

Molly Owens says...

My guess would be ESTP.

Suzanne Brue (not verified) says...

He seems like an ESFP to me. Everything is highly personal.

Guest (not verified) says...

I would say ESTJ: along with most of his followers, like my ex fiancé. They are a larger percentage of the population & tend to be middle-class hard working men who are not often very educated but who have exceptional skill elsewhere with practical pursuits.

Guest (not verified) says...

You've got it the wrong way round!

D A (not verified) says...

I agree with the article and its conclusions.
I remain dumbfounded by my Trump supporting friends who are financially successful and well educated. The only explanation appears to be our age demographic - Baby Boomers.

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm a Baby Boomer, aged 66. I did not vote for Trump, nor did many of my friends whom I consider high in openness. But I do have non-college educated acquaintances of the same age who did vote for Trump, people I would certainly categorize very low on openness.

So I don't think it is necessarily age-related, but more character trait related.

Molly Owens says...

Interestingly, you're both right, because Openness scores actually decline with age!

Young people tend to have higher Openness scores, on average, and those scores tend to decline over time. Of course, people who started off highly Open will still be above average in the trait even in old age. But if you compare 18-year-olds with 60-year-olds, the 60-year-old group will have a lower average score on this trait.

This may help to explain why young people are more likely to vote for progressive candidates and why the average age of Republican voters is higher than that of Democrats.

D A (not verified) says...

Another good point. Thank you

D A (not verified) says...

My friend, a retired Merrill Lynch broker, has simple advice. Follow the money. He is usually spot on.

Guest (not verified) says...

The lefty, smug cloud became unbearable. I'm 32, so it is not just baby boomers that see the big picture differently.

M. M. (not verified) says...

Why no commentary about the Ambassador and the others who died in Benghazi, those who asked and received no protection from the Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton?
Why no mention of the private server and all the deleted emails?
The ongoing FBI investigation into the The Clinton Foundation?
A strong case was made that Mrs. Clinton was not trustworthy, honest or transparent.
FBI Comey stated many times where Mrs. Clinton lied during the congressional hearings in some of her responses to questions regarding the private email server and thousands of emails that were deleted, many were classified documents. If she is so open, why was she hiding so much information through a private server which was against policy for the office she held.
What part of Mrs. Clinton's personality weaknesses allowed all this to happen, but was not mentioned in the article? I'm not seeing the 'openness' as mentioned in the article.

It was mentioned President elect Trump filed repeated bankruptcies, last I checked bankruptcies are not illegal and are open public records. The bankruptcy courts are available to all US citizens. Mr. Trump clearly did not have the polished career politician rhetoric while campaigning.

Look forward to your response and help in understanding your position formulating the profiles of Mrs. Clinton and President elect Mr. Trump

Molly Owens says...

Questions of honesty and trustworthiness are generally understood to be related to another of the Big Five dimensions, namely Agreeableness. Agreeableness has to do with how a person gets along with others, and whether they are disposed to cooperation or advancing their own interests.

We didn't address Agreeableness in this article, however I do believe that Clinton is probably lower in Agreeableness than would be advantageous, especially for a female candidate as women are typically expected to be more Agreeable. Hiding things, making decisions that result in others being hurt, and appearing more logical than caring are all hallmarks of lower Agreeableness. I do think this was a big problem for Clinton in the campaign.

M. M. (not verified) says...

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response and further explanation.
I'm new to the 'world' of personality types, as well trying to further understand the Big Five dimensions.
Again, thank you for taking the time to respond and explain, it is appreciated.

Anou Michele Mirkine (not verified) says...

If you hate liars so much, then why are you not noticing that Trump lies much more than Hillary ever did. There is no evidence she did anything wrong, and yet, you are still holding on to emails and Benghazi. Benghazi was not her fault, and had nothing to do with her personality weakness. She's not young and beautiful. That's her only weakness in this world of superficial morons. You should be worried about Trump because he will do just as much damage to you as he will to others. You will also lose your health care, you will also be subject to the violence that is escalating all over the country. You will also, lose your friends. Good luck.

Molly Owens says...

I appreciate that you took the time to comment, however let's try to keep the discussion on topic and refrain from predicting certain doom for those who don't agree with us. This has been a highly emotional election for most Americans, and I understand the temptation to escalate the discussion, but my hope is that the conversation here can be informative and insightful for all of us.

Anou Michele Mirkine (not verified) says...

Not when people make reprehensible claims against Hillary in support for Donald Trump. Hillary sincerely wanted to do a good job for this country. He has no interest in that as he is filled with Greed. He appealed to those who do not know how to regulate their emotions. He got them all riled up. They thought he understood them. No. He was just using their weaknesses to get their votes. Now we are stuck with him. I don't know how I can be more clear. He is an ESTP with a mental disorder. This makes him an out of control Demagogue. Bravo to those who voted for him. And again, Good luck.

M. M. (not verified) says...

Anou Michelle Mirkine
I am simply acknowledging that I have read your comments. Clearly you are a very passionate supporter of Mrs. Clinton.
My best wishes to you for all that is good and that you find peace as you sort through your disappointment with the outcome of the election.

Sue Harney (not verified) says...

People are innocent until charged and proven guilty in this country - even Hillary Clinton. She was the target of an organized, multi- year smear campaign started by conservative writer William Safire in the 90's, relentlessly repeated and embellished by conservative outlets, Facebook postings from obscure sources and swarms of twitterbots from places with Russian connections. It was similar, albeit more comprehensive, to campaigns conducted against Al Gore, Presidents Obama and Clinton and now Nancy Pelosi. Charges against her regarding Benghazi are without merit or substance - proven to be false. Nothing on the e-mails or server either. Poor judgement isn't illegal. What a contrast with David "Betrayus" Petraus whom Donald is vetting for Sec. of State after being convicted of giving top secret information to his mistress. What a difference being a Conservative, white male makes.
Donald Trump drove numerous small businesses out of business by refusing to pay for services they rendered to him. He is accused of rape and openly admits to grabbing women's genitals (15 & counting?) and bragging about walking in on teenage beauty queen dressing rooms. His "charitable foundation" is a scam; he has paid fines for illegal actions associated with his foundation. He has milked millions in tax incentives from local governments and cheated people out of access to tax supported housing based on race. He settled that prosecution out of court just as he settled his Trump University grifter operation for 25M. He is a lackluster failure as a businessman as he has gone bankrupt SIX times- taking down scores of small operators with him each time. Donald Trump spews lies at the rate of a lie per minute or more in speeches. He appeals to racism and white supremacy. His supporters are offended by the labels of racist and supremacist but when you hand an arsonist gasoline & matches, you are as responsible for the fire as the arsonist. It seems only Hillary Clinton can be politically incorrect, DT is above every law and every standard of honesty and decency Americans have ever purported to follow. The hypocrisy of his supporters reeks like an open sewer at high noon.

M. M. (not verified) says...

If this was a politics board I would debate your talking points with you, it's not.
The author of the article and host of this blog, Molly Owens, intent was to explore how personality traits and openness of the voters
influenced the outcome of the election.
Ms. Owens explained clearly that what I was asking about is one of the Big Five dimensions, Agreeableness, and was not addressed in this particular article.

Bette (not verified) says...

I think you have stereotyped typical Trump supporters. I am not a white male. I don't live in a rural setting. I am highly educated and urban and liberal on social policy. This is all too biased and black and white. Perhaps you did not sample enough of a variety of people who are Trump supporters.

Molly Owens says...

Hi Bette! The intent was not to say that every single person who voted for Trump is a rural white male, which of course would be ridiculous. However the analysis of the election often referred to a "typical profile" of a Trump supporter, and we noticed that the profile also described someone low in Openness.

David Sweatt (not verified) says...

How do you explain those who score high on openness and voted for Trump?

Molly Owens says...

That's a great point. I wonder if people very high in Openness were also drawn to Trump because he's so unusual. I read several quotes from Trump supporters who said that they didn't vote for him because of his policies necessarily, but just because they were disgusted with government and wanted a drastic change. One person even described Trump as equivalent to throwing a Molotov cocktail through the window of the White House. I would imagine voters that fit this profile would be very high in Openness, as they are clearly looking for a president to bring an unprecedented approach to office.

Jenice Lumo (not verified) says...

Although it is an interesting observation I do not agree with the correlation that the degree of openness in the voters personality traits is related to who they voted for in the election. If a person believes in and upholds an objective truth, it does not matter how high their degree of openness is, or how much they understand other positions and be able to play devils advocate, it does not matter how open they are to other possibilities, or change, or adventure, or new ideas, the personality trait of openness does not dictate a person's morality, or belief system. If personality fated you to a life of crime, then why not just kill all the criminals immediately?
I believe every (real) politician seeks the good for society. There are some things that will always be good or always be bad for human society. But just as personality cans dictate morals, neither can politicians change the objective truths of good and evil, or the truth about what it means to be human. Natural Law cannot change, just as we cannot suddenly stop being human to become a dog, or rock, or tree. What we are doesn't change, so therefor how we live, and strive to (fulfill our telos,) become the best humans we can be, does not change. Personality does not change our nature or species. It does not change what is universally good or evil for ourselves and others. Thank Goodness.

I'm FiNe (not verified) says...

I recall that Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote, but that Mr. Trump won the electoral vote. My point is that those who voted for one of these two were about evenly split. Should we infer from the article that:
1. people who voted for either the Democratic or Republican party were the Inquisitive (D) vs. the Non-Inquisitive (R) types?
2. the split in the population is about 50/50 Inquisitive/Non-Inquisitive?
3. the population (in Myers-Briggs or Jungian terms) are 50/50 Sensors/iNtuitors?
4. that the electoral college is comprised of slightly more people less open to experience? [This is the reason that Mr. Trump is President Elect. Popular vote would have said Mrs. Clinton.]

It seems to me that there are people who vote party line because that's what they have done, that's what their family has always done, and so on. In other words there are Non-inquisitives (non-open-to-experience) who are Democrats and voted for Mrs. Clinton because they always vote Democrat, that's what they have always done.

I think it more likely that there was a mix of I vs. N (Inquisitive vs. Non-Inquisitive, using SLOAN labels) voting for either of the main candidates. As the article pointed out, this election offered two main candidates in the end that few people liked. Those more Open to experience probably voted for another candidate (either running under another party on the ballot or as write-ins). Those who chose "the lesser of two evils" seem to be dismissive of voting outside the 2 parties, having bought into the notion that a vote outside either is "throwing your vote away".

Molly Owens says...

Some research has shown that people who are high in Openness are a bit more likely to vote Democrat. However, this isn't absolute—Openness tends to predispose someone to being interested in new and innovative ideas, regardless of what party they come from. Certainly some people high in Openness are more drawn to ideas proposed by the Republican party. Presumably highly Open people who identify as Republican find those policies more innovative and interesting.

I haven't come across any studies that look at affiliation with third parties, such as the Green party or Libertarian party, but I would imagine that voters who identify with these parties are much more likely to be high in Openness since these parties are by their nature unconventional.

As far as the distribution in the population, Openness is described in terms of norms, so there will always be 50% of people who are above average and 50% of people who are below the average in a given sample group. The Sensing/Intuition dichotomy as described by Briggs Myers is a little different; although the concepts underlying the dimension are similar, research done with the MBTI® instrument found that about 60% of Americans fell on the Sensing side.

We can't conclude that the electoral college is comprised of less Open people. Those who are presumed to be casting their votes for Trump will do so because he won the popular vote in their respective states, not because of their own personal preference.

D A (not verified) says...

Apply for a cabinet position. Don could use someone with intelligence.

ProfJD (not verified) says...

Could a lack of openness translate to a principled stance? If what you mean, in the article, by a lack of openness is actually a desire for a leader who stands for principles reflected in our Constitution, then yes, I think that's what a lot of Trump voters strongly desire.

Americans who are tired of leaders who say one thing ("If you like your doctor...", "...families will save $2500 per year..."), but are clearly lying through their teeth.

Trump capitalized on Americans' desire for someone who actually speaks his or her mind, and means what they say. You may not always agree with Trump, but you know where he stands. That kind of "openness" is really truthfulness and candor.

Jenice Lumo (not verified) says...

Exactly. Can't one be principled and open? In fact with out the openness to all different possibilities and ideas, how would one know that the principles they decide to uphold are actually worth upholding?
Principled is not closed mindedness, it's standing on a solid rock overlooking a world of possibilities. But without principles you fall and your vision becomes limited.

Sonya (not verified) says...

INTJ, female, Iowan in my soul and mother. In defense of my people, midwesterners, I would like to remind ALL of you that it was my home state of Iowa that put Obama up front in his initial bid for the presedency. Does that sound like the characteristic of a "closed" people? I went to school in Des Moines, Iowa - then a family move took me to Denver, Colorado for a few years - then back to Des Moines. What I can share from this is first hand experience of the disparity between the public school systems in Des Moines and Denver. I have complete and total confidence in the reasoning powers of the general populace of Iowa. Frankly, this idea that midwesterners are "uneducated & closed minded" is nonsense. Total classist garbage. Why did I not vote for HRC? I knew I wasn't going to vote for her back in Obama's first term. I find her opportunistic, I watched how she handled Bill's affairs and found it insincere- I want to point out that I am an INTJ like HRC - meaning, I would have had limitless respect for her, if she simply stated the truth: her marriage is a business partnership. The pandering to my female sensibilites was insulting. I found the move to New York opportunistic. Isn't she from Arkansas? So when she was married to the Gov. her work in that state wasn't sincere? I mistrusted her loyalties - she came off as following the power trail. I dislike dynasties. We are a republic. Many of my ancestors fought and were willfully deported from kingdoms. Why on earth would I support more of that? Bengazi - yes. not. her. fault. However, she continued to blame a video (poor attempt to mislead us - the people) while emailing her daughter (Chelsea had clearance???) naming the attack as terror/insurgents. She made up some BS story about landing under sniper fire during her time as Sec of State - the unnecessary pandering was insulting- not to mention my personal fave: She ran into Sonia Sotamayor at Costco- uh huh. Like she's a regular gal like me! Ultimately it boiled down to this: my sons, my husband, my father, grandfathers, my wonderful die-hard democratic Iowan grandmother and on back are veterans- my husband: Gulf War combat, my dad: Medic Vietnam etc etc. I willfully and deliberately voted for the candidate that was not hell bent on squandering MY SONS to Syria all the while labelling them as "deplorable". ***I would have voted for Jim Webb***

INFJ Jane (not verified) says...

Molly, I very much enjoyed your article. I noticed that some people took offense to it, as if it was a personal criticism. I personally did not feel you were criticizing either candidate or those that voted one way or the other but rather pointing out differences and bringing to light your thoughts on why a person would vote one way or the other. Additionally I would say that personality traits influenced the outcome of the election. For that matter I think personality traits have a great deal to do with everything! In my opinion personality traits do influence values. Values do influence how we as humans perceive right from wrong. So I feel very differently than Jenice Lumo.

Molly Owens says...

Thanks for that Jane, I am glad to hear the article did not feel biased to you! I obviously have my own personal political inclinations, but I tried to put them aside as much as possible.

Scott Davis (not verified) says...

It's interesting how so many of us see so many different things. Reality here is a giant rorschach test. PROFJD sees Trump as a man who speaks his mind and knows where he stands. I see Trump as a sheer opportunist clothing himself in the zip up sheep suit while all the while being a wolf. I see him as a pure Artisan (ESFP) more interested in the game and the glory of winning than the principled idealism that I (an ENFJ) personally prefer. I think we "Idealists" who yearn for authenticity and high ethics are especially repulsed by traits such as bullying, saying anything in the moment to energize a crowd, having extremely loose relationship with facts or personal honesty. Trump, to an NF's eyes, looks startlingly disingenuous and predatory - not earnest, sincere, or service oriented. Those anti- authentic traits sit poorly at the visceral level for us. I have a very hard time relating to, or trusting, Artisan ESFPs who intrinsically view others as expendable articles for their own rise.

M. M. (not verified) says...

I have to comment that I agree with you in that it is interesting how so many see this differently.
While I don't have my rose colored glasses on while observing Mr. Trump, I see Mrs. Clinton as a much bigger and far more dangerous narcissist with her political beliefs, policies and agenda for our country.
I agree with ProJD in that Trump speaks his mind, knows where he stands and doesn't sugar coat it. I like that he is direct and to the point.

(fwiw I became interested in the personality types after my son took a psych class in college and asked that I take a test to determine my type for a paper he was writing at the time. He not only predicted I was an INTP, I tested out as an INTP)

pitum (not verified) says...

While I am no political history buff, I'd like to restate the observation that "both candidates were perhaps the most unpopular in history". Setting aside the details of the candidates' indiscretions, both undeniably having faults, it comes down to the individual voter's perception. Each voter felt that his/her chosen candidate was genuine and trustworthy, while their opponent was not.

Aside from social factors (family's party, media influence, etc.), the opinion of each person voted boiled down to the values they perceive each candidate has and/or lacks, and the importance of those values to the voter personally. One of the reasons people have violent reactions to opposing views is that they feel their own values are being attacked.

Do opposing views justify negative actions towards whomever we perceive as "others"?
Intellectually, I understand that differing beliefs in a high-stakes environment trigger a range of defense mechanisms (some more offensive than others) in order to protect one's identity and convictions... functionally, it's an outcome of evolution... historically, it's nothing new... I accept it as a reality... but that doesn't mean its not sad.

INTJ, Female, mid-20s, observer

(side note: I agree that this is not the right avenue to be rehashing the details of the candidates' faults/mistakes/indiscretions as this is unrelated to the article, and we have all been bombarded with the details for over a year)

Pat Frank (not verified) says...

I've assessed Rentfrow, et al., and found that none of the so-called big five traits are independent. They're all correlated, meaning measurement of one is confuted by the presence of another. That pretty much makes them categorically useless. Also, all of them but Agreeableness are at least bimodal across the state level.

So, one can make all sorts of seemingly scholarly arguments using the big five traits, but they're all just really mushy hand-waving.

Molly, if you'd like a pdf of the analysis, please email.

I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and voted for Donald Trump, by the way. Hillary Clinton had turned the State Department into a criminal enterprise. This was common knowledge by election day. Nevertheless, she nearly won the election. The relevant traits delimiting that farrago ought to have been something like neg-integrity (HRC) and ethical shiftiness (her voters).

Jaime Sotela Lopez says...

What about scoring high in Openness and at the same time you deeply understand Trump’s view of the world and in certains ways you support him? I have figured out I see everything in my inside and outside world from a helicopter view which helps me see things clearly in every part of a spectrum. 

Richard Snow (not verified) says...

Molly, do you allow reprints of your article in other blogs, with attribution of the original source (much like crative commons licences.) Please email me if you want to know my blog details.

Michele Fawcett-Long says...

Hello Richard. We appreciate your inquiry but do not generally allow reprints of our blog posts.

~Michele, Customer Experience Manager

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