Personal, interpersonal, and political temperaments

John R. Alford, John R. Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Are political liberals generous? Are political conservatives conscientious? Are generous people personally agreeable? Research in behavioral genetics and elsewhere increasingly indicates a biological basis for the manner in which people behave in personal, interpersonal, and political situations, but this biological basis does not mean behavior in these three very different contexts is correlated. In this article, using an original data set obtained from nearly three hundred subjects, the authors are able to test for the degree to which personal, interpersonal, and political temperaments are related. As expected, the overall correlations are quite low. Standard personality traits do not predict political attitudes, and neither political attitudes nor personality predicts the extent to which subjects are generous in interpersonal situations. Human behavior is partially biological, but the systems involved in shaping political behavior seem to be largely but not completely distinct from those involved in shaping personal and interpersonal behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-212
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Behavior
  • Ideology
  • Personality traits
  • Political attitude
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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