Associations Among Dimensions of Political Ideology and Dark Tetrad Personality Features


  • Joseph R. Bardeen
  • Jesse S. Michel


Examinations of personality and political ideology have assessed political ideology as a unidimensional construct and primarily focused on the Big Five personality factors. The purpose of the present two-part study was to examine associations among political ideology (assessed using two dimensions [social and economic]) and Dark Tetrad traits in two samples of adults from the United States (N = 579 and 597). The combination of high economic conservatism and high social liberalism was associated with the highest levels of Machiavellianism and the combination of high social conservatism and high economic liberalism was associated with the highest levels of Narcissism. These effects were significant even after accounting for Big Five personality factors and when using a measure of political ideology that was comprised of multiple items for each dimension of political ideology. Implications include the potential application of our findings to altering political interpersonal dynamics. Additionally, study findings highlight the importance of examining political ideology via multiple dimensions to account for heterogeneity of political attitudes.