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American Politics | Leadership Studies | Other Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts


Note: The paper whose abstract appears below, titled "The Political Personality of Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden" has been replaced on the 'Download' tab with an updated paper containing a more thorough personality assessment and a more detailed leadership style analysis, titled "The Political Personality of 2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden." The earlier paper has been archived and may be uploaded at the bottom of this page from the hyperlink under 'Additional Files.'

This working paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of former U.S. vice president Joe Biden — a contender for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election — from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon. Information concerning Biden 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 DSM-III-R, DSM-IV, and 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. Biden’s primary personality pattern was found to be Outgoing/gregarious, complemented by secondary Ambitious/confident and Accommodating/cooperative patterns and a subsidiary Dominant/asserting tendency.

In essence, Biden may be characterized as a conciliatory extravert. The conciliatory extravert subtype combines outgoing and accommodating (agreeable) features. These individuals have strong affiliation motives and are driven to seek approval. They want others to like them and view them as a friend or ally. To achieve that goal, they often compliment, praise, or flatter others, presenting an image of goodwill. When disagreements occur, they attempt to smooth things over, sometimes at the cost of conceding.

Leaders with Biden’s personality profile are likely to exhibit an interpersonal leadership style, characterized by flexibility, compromise, and an emphasis on teamwork.


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, PhD, associate professor of psychology, who specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.

More information and updates:

Updated report (August 2020)

The Political Personality and Leadership Style of 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden »

Updated report (July 2021)

The Personality Profile and Leadership Style of U.S. President Joe Biden »

Related reports

The Political Personality of 2020 Democratic Presidential Contender Bernie Sanders »

The Political Personality of U.S. President Barack Obama »

Biden poster (2019).jpg (638 kB)
Poster: “The Personality Profile of Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden”

Joe-Biden_2019.pdf (336 kB)
Paper: “The Political Personality of Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden”