Personality Traits as Determinants of Political Behavior: Ukrainian Electoral and Voting Tendencies

By Ivanchenko, Andreyanna; Ignatieva, Iryna et al. | Studia Politica; Romanian Political Science Review, July 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

Personality Traits as Determinants of Political Behavior: Ukrainian Electoral and Voting Tendencies


Ivanchenko, Andreyanna, Ignatieva, Iryna, Lefterov, Vasiliy, Timchenko, Olexander, Studia Politica; Romanian Political Science Review


Background and Research Hypothesis

At last decades, the people's activity in political life is an important aspect of their social interests, which has attracted a particular attention of researchers. Current personality researches base now upon an integrative view of the person, therefore both examining and explanation the human decisionmaking would be incomplete without putting a special focus on the personality traits in relation to formation of political attitudes, actions, interests, political behavior and citizens' engagement in the world of politics.1 Political behavior usually depends on various factors: socio-cultural and geographical environment, socio-economic determinants, demographic indexes, ethnic indicators, and others. Meanwhile, the psychological mechanisms and factors that determine political behavior and particularities of cognitive, emotional, motivational interactions within political system remain insufficiently studied.

Herewith, a particular look should be dedicated for analyzing not only the personality traits (such human properties that a person acquires in the process of life) but the individual-psychological characteristics also (as the qualities given to a person with birth) which to a large extent affect both the people's everyday life and their political behavior. It is quite obvious that any individual feels natural striving to work in comfortable non-stressful conditions and with the most positive result of own activities; but the complexity of life, derived from various problems that have both a wide range of determinants and an extensive set of manifestations (cognitive, behavioral, emotional and physiological), does not permit to use effective means of dealing with a stress2 in order a person might be capable to reveal own mobilization resources and recreational potential for increasing a proper productive-energetic outcome.3 So, what stimulates and motivates people to any activity, including in politics? What does it depend on?

Political behavior includes different aspects: electoral participation (also called as voter turnout), right to vote, and information during voting, interest in politics, etc. The definition of political participation can include variety of activities. The popular in political science dichotomy of conventional and nonconventional behavior had a long way to go before it appeared in contemporary political discourse. Conventional political behavior is mostly comprised of traditional activities taking place via legally accepted institutions, such as voting and campaign activity, contacting politicians and governmental officials, party membership, discussion of politics, etc. The over-all averages of voting in elections and discussing politics are, not surprisingly, the most widespread forms of conventional political activity.

The range of political activities was broadened in the 1960s with protesting and petitioning, classified as unconventional. 4 Although such classification is widespread and well known, labeling petitions or demonstrations as "unconventional" acts remains controversial as those have become generally accepted. Nevertheless, the current study was designed upon traditional classification of conventional and non-conventional behavior due to recent massive protest activity in Ukraine that was not properly embedded in the political system. The analysis of political participation within Ukrainian context would contribute to the literature in general so as it provides psychological insides for on-going political transformation from relatively closed to more open political system. While open political systems find less need to resort to non-conventional movements, in closed systems conventional strategies fail to succeed.5

To our believe, transformations in modern Ukraine were triggered by citizens' desire to be heard, when conventional strategies were not likely to induce authorities to give into the movement demands. Our intention is to point out substantial and comprehensive results by giving particular detailed look at personality traits and their role in conventional and non-conventional political behavior. …

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