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This working paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of U.S. vice president Mike Pence, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon. Information concerning Pence was collected from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-5.

The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Pence’s primary personality pattern was found to be Conscientious/dutiful, complemented by secondary Dominant/asserting, Ambitious/confident, and Accommodating/cooperative features and a minor Outgoing/congenial tendency. With the exception of the outgoing tendency, Pence’s profile is nearly identical to that of the more introverted 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has a minor Retiring/reserved tendency.

In the absence of concurrent primary personality patterns serving to moderate or offset high conscientiousness, Pence may be described as a dutiful conformist personality type with a conscientious deliberator leadership style. Leaders with this personality profile are characteristically prudent, proper, dignified, dependable, and more principled than most personality types. They are highly organized, with a strong work ethic and careful attention to detail. Dutiful and diligent, conscientious leaders excel in crafting public policy, though they are not typically regarded as visionary or transformational leaders.

The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for identifying psychological attributes on the part of Pence that might serve to complement, amplify, or attenuate personality traits that drive President Donald Trump’s leadership behavior as chief executive.


The research was conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics (USPP), a collaborative faculty–student research program in the psychology of politics at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville and St. Joseph, Minnesota, directed by Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, who specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.

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Research poster: The Personality Profile of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence