Welcome to the Machine: A Model of Legislator Personality and Communications Technology Adoption

Gary E. Hollibaugh, Adam J. Ramey, Jonathan D. Klingler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Political scientists have long considered ideology, partisanship, and constituency in determining how members of the United States Congress make decisions. Meanwhile, psychologists have held that personality traits play central roles in decision making. Here, we bridge these literatures by offering a framework for modeling how personality influences legislative behavior. Drawing from experimental economics and neuropsychology, we identify core cognitive constraints for the “Big Five” personality model, parameterizing them in ways useful for crafting formal models of legislative behavior. We then show one example of the applicability of this framework by creating a formal decision-theoretic model of constituency communication. We show that when there exists uncertainty over the true state of the world, personality traits have more influence on individual decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • communication
  • computer modeling
  • computer science
  • experimental psychology
  • legal studies
  • legislative processes
  • mass communication
  • media & society
  • party politics
  • personality
  • political communication
  • political science
  • psychology
  • social sciences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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