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.
Copyright © 2019 by Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics / Aubrey Immelman
Immelman, A. (2019, December). The political personality of former U.S. vice president Joe Biden (Working Paper No. 1.1). Collegeville and St. Joseph, MN: St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics. Retrieved from Digital Commons website: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/122/
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