Abstract and Keywords
Research since the 1990s reveals that openness to experience—a personality trait that captures interest in novelty, creativity, unconventionalism, and open-mindedness—correlates negatively with political conservatism. This chapter summarizes this vast literature by meta-analyzing 232 unique samples (N = 575,691) that examine the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and conservatism. The results reveal that the negative relationship between openness to experience and conservatism (r = −.145) is nearly twice as big as the next strongest correlation between personality and ideology (namely, conscientiousness and conservatism; r = .076). The associations between personality traits and conservatism were, however, substantively larger in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) countries than in non-WEIRD countries. The chapter concludes by reviewing recent longitudinal work demonstrating that openness to experience and conservatism are non-causally related. Collectively, the chapter shows that openness to experience is by far the strongest (negative) correlate of conservatism but that there is little evidence that this association is causal.
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