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 Nordic Party Members: Linkages in Troubled Times, Edited by Marie Demker, Knut Heidar, and Karina Kosiara-Pedersen

Personality Traits and the Early Origins of Political Sophistication

Political Participation
Political Psychology
Alexandre Blanchet
Université de Montréal
Alexandre Blanchet
Université de Montréal

Recent research has highlighted the potential importance of genetic factors to explaining diverse political behaviours and attitudes. Among those highly inherited factors, personality traits have been shown to be relevant to, among other things, political opinions and the strength of party identification. Some personality traits have also been found to positively affect political knowledge, but we currently lack a clear and comprehensive mechanism that can explain these exploratory results.This paper seeks to investigate personality traits as a potential mechanism in explaining the development of political sophistication. Relying on the Big Five framework, the study takes advantage of Ten-Item Personality Inventories that have recently been introduced into national surveys to evaluate the importance of personality traits to political behaviour. The main goal of the paper will be to comparatively evaluate the importance of personality traits on different indicators of political knowledge and sophistication in Canada and the United States.
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