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This chapter outlines the history of personality inquiry in political psychology, examines the current state of personality assessment in politics, and charts a course for the study of personality in politics in the post-cognitive revolution era, informed by contextually adjacent scientific fields such as behavioral neuroscience and evolutionary ecology.
The chapter offers a comprehensive, generative, theoretically coherent framework for studying personality in politics, consonant with established principles in the adjacent sciences and integrative with respect to accommodating a diversity of politically relevant personal characteristics. The proposed framework attempts to bridge conceptual and methodological gaps between current formulations in the source disciplines of personology and personality assessment and the target discipline of contemporary political personality — specifically the psychological examination of political leaders — and proposes a set of basic standards for personality-in-politics modeling.
The personality-in-politics model formulated in this chapter accounts for structural and functional personality attributes at behavioral, phenomenological, intrapsychic, and biophysical levels of analysis; permits supplementary developmental causal analysis; provides an explicit framework for personality-based risk analysis in politics; provides an assessment methodology; explicitly links personality with political performance outcomes; acknowledges the impact of situational variables and the cultural context on political performance; and allows for personological, situational, and contextual filters that modulate the impact of personality on political performance.
From the Volume Preface: Aubrey Immelman’s chapter comprises a synthesis of personality and social behavior. It not only examines the history of personality inquiry in political psychology but also offers a far-reaching and theoretically coherent framework for studying the subject in a manner consonant with principles in contextually adjacent fields, such as behavioral neuroscience and evolutionary ecology. Immelman provides an explicit framework for a personality-based risk analysis of political outcomes, acknowledging the role of filters that modulate the impact of personality on political performance. Seeking to accommodate a diversity of politically relevant personality characteristics, he bridges conceptual and methodological gaps in contemporary political study and specifically attempts a psychological examination of political leaders, on the basis of which he imposes a set of standards for personality-in-politics modeling. (Theodore Millon & Melvin J. Lerner, 2003, Volume Preface, p. xii)
Copyright © 2003 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
This is an archived copy of the book chapter “Personality in Political Psychology,” published in the Handbook of Psychology: Vol. 5. Personality and Social Psychology (2003), currently out of print.
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Immelman, A. (2003). Personality in political psychology. In I. B. Weiner (Series Ed.), T. Millon & M. J. Lerner (Vol. Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Vol. 5. Personality and social psychology (pp. 599–625). Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/0471264385.wei0524