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Big Five Personality Traits and Responses to Persuasive Appeals: Results from Voter Turnout Experiments

December 2012

Alan S. Gerber, Gregory A. Huber, David Doherty, Conor M. Dowling, Costas Panagopoulos


The researchers use both a survey and a randomized control trial to measure how people who score differently on the “Big Five” personality traits -Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness - respond to various “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) messages. They find that voters personality traits shape whether they respond to different types of political appeals. They also find that one trait, “Openness” is significantly linked with much higher ability to be persuaded to vote.

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Policy Implications

When political parties seek to get out the vote for their candidate, they should craft specific messages to people with certain personality traits. Additionally, they should seek out those with a strong level of Openness for persuasion. To broaden voter turnout more generally, it may be helpful for policymakers to employ a variety of messages catered to a variety or personality types.

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