Democratic Demands and Citizen Capabilities



In this chapter, the author develops his thesis that an individual’s personality is a durable and measurable manifestation of unconscious brain processes that systematically influence individuals’ civic aptitude, that is, the quality of one’s engagement with the political world. The chapter examines a vast array of works across the academic fields of psychology, sociology, political science, philosophy, genetics, and neuroscience. In particular, this chapter builds the argument that the Big Five (also known as the Five Factor Model) personality traits are significant contributors to the successes and failures citizens have in understanding and participating in politics in four separate areas: (1) citizens’ ability to understand politics with abstract notions like liberal and conservative; (2) know factual information about important public policy areas; (3) connect their own personal policy preferences to the correct party; and (4) understand their own relationship with government programs.


Personality Trait Emotional Stability Average Citizen Political Behavior Political Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political ScienceIndiana University–Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

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