Electoral Chair’s Seminar – 1 November

Catalysts or conduits? Unpacking how personality traits shape perceptions and responses to social pressure to vote

Maxime Coulombe – University of Western Ontario, Laura French Bourgeois – University of Western Ontario, Allison Harell – UQAM, Colin Scott – Concordia University, and Laura Stephenson – University of Western Ontario

While previous work has shown that both personality and social pressure are determinants of turnout, little research documents the interaction between personality and susceptibility to social norms. This study investigates (a) whether individuals with different personality traits report varying levels of social pressure to vote, and (b) how these traits moderate the impact of social pressure on turnout. We focus on the Big Five personality traits and use perceptions of descriptive and injunctive norms as measurements of social pressure. Using observational data from 10 election studies conducted in four countries, encompassing over 93,000 unique respondents, this study sheds light on the interplay between personality traits, social pressure to vote, and voter turnout. Preliminary results suggest that social norms play a unique and important role in influencing turnout, and that an individual’s personality profile little influences this relationship.

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This content has been updated on 24 October 2023 at 10 h 33 min.