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  Neuroticism Could Be 'Sleeper Effect' in Trump and Brexit Campaigns
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Author Topic: Neuroticism Could Be 'Sleeper Effect' in Trump and Brexit Campaigns  (Read 645 times)
JA
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« on: April 12, 2018, 06:57:38 pm »


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Regions where voters have more neurotic personality traits were more likely to vote for Donald Trump in the United States or for the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom, revealing a new trend that could help explain the rise of fearmongering populist political campaigns across the world, according to new research published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Researchers analyzed personality traits from online surveys of more than 3 million people in the United States and more than 417,000 people in the United Kingdom. Election data was compiled from public sources.

“Our study reveals how neuroticism or psychological hardship is shaping the global political landscape,” said lead study author Martin Obschonka, PhD, a psychologist and associate professor at Queensland University of Technology in Australia. “One could also call this ‘irrational’ voting behavior because the surprising success of Trump and Brexit weren’t predicted by models that relied on a rational understanding of voters.”

Neuroticism hasn’t previously been associated with voting behavior, suggesting that it could have been a “sleeper effect” with the potential to have a profound impact on the success of populist political campaigns across the globe, Obschonka said.

The Trump and Brexit campaigns both promoted themes of fear and lost pride, which are related to neurotic personality traits that include persistent feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, envy or jealousy. Regions in the United States with greater support for Trump were very similar to areas in the United Kingdom that supported Brexit, including a higher percentage of white people and lower levels of college education, earnings and liberal attitudes. Former industrial areas that are now in economic decline also were more likely to support Trump or Brexit.
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KingSweden
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2018, 07:06:49 pm »

Interesting. I still think education and drug usage maps very clearly, which TBF it seems this study accounts for
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Young Conservative
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2018, 08:33:43 pm »

When in doubt, blame the mental state of your opposition! That’ll win  them over for sure!

HEAVY SARCASM
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Theodore
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2018, 09:09:24 pm »

When in doubt, blame the mental state of your opposition! That’ll win  them over for sure!

HEAVY SARCASM
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JA
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2018, 09:34:32 pm »

When in doubt, blame the mental state of your opposition! That’ll win  them over for sure!

HEAVY SARCASM

I believe that's a misinterpretation of the study's intent and implications. The implications of the study appear to be that neuroticism, which is linked to common psychological issues that are often caused by declining socioeconomic conditions, is particularly prone to the types of populist rhetoric that was employed by the Trump and Brexit campaigns. This isn't particularly surprising nor even new; what's new is that they've likely found the strongest correlating psychological "condition" to which right-wing (and perhaps left-wing) populism appeals. They're not blaming anyone's mental state, per se, but they are noting that neuroticism, which frequently arises in conjunction with local/regional socioeconomic decline, can incline people to support populist campaigns.
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Bismarck
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2018, 11:27:40 pm »

When in doubt, blame the mental state of your opposition! That’ll win  them over for sure!

HEAVY SARCASM

I believe that's a misinterpretation of the study's intent and implications. The implications of the study appear to be that neuroticism, which is linked to common psychological issues that are often caused by declining socioeconomic conditions, is particularly prone to the types of populist rhetoric that was employed by the Trump and Brexit campaigns. This isn't particularly surprising nor even new; what's new is that they've likely found the strongest correlating psychological "condition" to which right-wing (and perhaps left-wing) populism appeals. They're not blaming anyone's mental state, per se, but they are noting that neuroticism, which frequently arises in conjunction with local/regional socioeconomic decline, can incline people to support populist campaigns.

Yes this is the main point. Actually if I’m not mistaken neuroticism has been correlated with left wing views in some studies of previous elections as well, but certain traits that might be viewed unfavorably are associated with both sides voting patterns.
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Invisible Obama
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2018, 11:33:08 pm »

When in doubt, blame the mental state of your opposition! That’ll win  them over for sure!

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It's not necessary to be so easily offended. It's a study not a campaign platform.
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afleitch
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2018, 06:42:59 am »

When in doubt, blame the mental state of your opposition! That’ll win  them over for sure!

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A 'neurotic response' Cheesy
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The_Doctor
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2018, 07:22:05 am »

I always knew diehard Trump people and Brexiteers were neurotic people. That seems the obvious “duh!” thing.
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ilikeverin
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2018, 07:34:46 am »

Before people sound off too bad, this is the Big Five personality construct of "neuroticism".  The word has negative connotations, I know, but it is a personality construct, not a direct measurement of actual disorder or mental instability.  Everyone is Big-Five-neurotic to some extent or another.  If you want, you could recast it as "vigilance" or, with a similar valence but using less scary words, "tendency to worry".  Basically, this study is showing that areas where there are lots of worriers are also areas that swung towards Trump.

Anyway, this is sort of unsurprising.  Previous studies of Big Five traits by state in the US have shown there's sort of a "neuroticism belt" from Appalachia down through Arkansas, which are places that unsurprisingly voted very strongly for Trump.  If you want to see the map, check out page 32 in this pdf.
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