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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Personality can be understood as including four distinct elements: demographic characteristics and other embodied social contexts, traits, cognitions and beliefs, and implicit motives. Because political leaders and elite groups are not available for direct assessment, measuring their personalities usually requires indirect methods. This chapter reviews a variety of such at-a-distance methods for measuring the elements of personality, citing landmark studies of each: psychobiography, theory-based ratings and rating scales, and content analysis of speeches, interviews, documents, and other text material. Multivariate ways of combining or integrating the separate personality elements are also discussed. Finally, attention is given to the circumstances under which leaders’ personalities are relevant to outcomes, and the opportunities, perils, and limits of predicting political behavior from personality.

Keywords: content analysis, implicit motives, integrative complexity, leaders, operational code, personality, psychobiography, ratings, rating scales, traits

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