Personality on the Hill: Expert Evaluations of U.S. Senators’ Psychological Traits

Matthew G. Rice, Megan L. Remmel, Jeffery J. Mondak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Long recognized for the diverse array of personalities it hosts, the U.S. Senate constitutes an institution in which individual psychological differences among its members carry significant potential consequences. Unfortunately, studying those individual differences is no easy task. This study introduces a new approach for doing so. Specifically, the study develops Big Five trait ratings for eighty-seven U.S. senators, with data drawn from assessments provided by a set of experts, U.S. Senate insiders. The paper explains the rationale for use of expert evaluations, offers evidence regarding the reliability and validity of the resulting measures, and explores possible relationships between personality and ten aspects of Senate behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-687
Number of pages14
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Big Five
  • U.S. Senate
  • elite personality
  • measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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