Compassionate liberals and polite conservatives: Associations of agreeableness with political ideology and moral values

Jacob B. Hirsh, Colin G. DeYoung, Xiaowen Xu, Jordan B. Peterson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    156 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Political conservatism has been characterized by resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, with liberalism characterized by the polar opposite of these values. Political attitudes are heritable and may be influenced by basic personality traits. In previous research, conservatism (vs. liberalism) has been associated positively with Conscientiousness and negatively with Openness-Intellect, consistent with the association of conservatism with resistance to change. Less clear, however, are the personality traits relating to egalitarianism. In two studies, using a personality model that divides each of the Big Five into two aspects, the present research found that one aspect of Agreeableness (Compassion) was associated with liberalism and egalitarianism, whereas the other (Politeness) was associated with conservatism and traditionalism. In addition, conservatism and moral traditionalism were positively associated with the Orderliness aspect of Conscientiousness and negatively with Openness-Intellect. These findings contribute to a more nuanced understanding of personality's relation to political attitudes and values.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)655-664
    Number of pages10
    JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
    Volume36
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1 2010

    Keywords

    • Conservatism
    • Liberalism
    • Morality
    • Personality
    • Politics

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