Politicians made of cardboard

Click to follow
The Independent Online
People regard politicians as cardboard cut-outs who are judged on two personality traits - "energy" and "honesty" - unlike everyone else, who we evaluate against five personality traits, according to a study by researchers in the US and Italy. The finding is a marked contrast to the usual way that people judge themselves and others, including sports personalities and TV celebrities.

Psychologists have found that, in general, personality is comprised of five basic factors: energy/extroversion, friendliness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and "openness to experience". However, a study of 2,088 Italian adults and 195 US college students, published in the science journal Nature found that in the eyes of the electorate, politicians' personalities are boiled down to just two broad types. Energy and openness are combined into "energy/innovation", while friendliness, conscientiousness and emotional stability are mixed to create "honesty/trustworthiness". Voters then decide if they like the candidates' apparent mixture of these traits when deciding who to support. Charles Arthur