Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Big Five and Politics

The Big Five is a test that measures five dimensions of personality: extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness, and neuroticism. (Here is one version of the test, but there are several online with varying degrees of validity.) Apparently it's a pretty good indicator of political ideology:
For the past 10 years, I’ve studied political divisions through the lenses of evolutionary anthropology, genetics, and neuroscience. Research reveals that during their 20s people around the world experience significant shifts in the traits biologists use to describe the human personality. Specifically, “openness” declines and “conscientiousness” increases. Higher openness is associated with intellectual curiosity, a preference for variety, and voting for the left; higher conscientiousness, characterized by self-discipline and dutifulness, predicts support for more conservative politics.
The article goes on to say that if one's political leanings haven't changed by the magical age of 30, they probably won't. Interestingly enough, I score high on both conscientiousness and openness (and moderate-to-low on the other three dimensions.)

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