Home — Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics

Established in 1999, the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics (USPP) is a collaborative faculty–student research program in the psychology of politics at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Minnesota, directed by Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, who specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.

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Purpose

The Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics is operated solely for research and educational purposes. The Unit does not advocate support for or defeat of any candidate for any political office. Political analysis published by the director or research associates of the Unit is the personal opinion of those individuals, based on empirical analysis of personality in politics and the influence of personality traits on high-level leadership.

Mission

The mission of the Unit is to conduct psychological assessments of candidates for public office and to disseminate the findings to professionals, the media, and the voting public.

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St. John’s University

Related links

USPP on ResearchGate » https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Aubrey_Immelman

Former USPP website (1999-2008) » http://uspp.csbsju.edu

USPP research reports and analysis (2008-2016) » Immelman.us

USPP on Twitter » @PolPsyProfiling

USPP director Aubrey Immelman with 2016 summer research fellows Marcus Langley, Rylee Pool, and Anna Faerber.

USPP director Aubrey Immelman with 2016 summer research fellows Marcus Langley, Rylee Pool, and Anna Faerber.

Social sciences librarian Diana Symons instructs USPP research assistants Meghan Keaveny (front left), Jacob Wankel, and Jim Hasselbrink in database research methods for a follow-up study of Kim Jong-un's personal psychology as a basis for conducting an updated North Korea threat assessment, Aug. 4, 2017.

Social sciences librarian Diana Symons instructs USPP research assistants Meghan Keaveny (front left), Jacob Wankel, and Jim Hasselbrink in database research methods for a follow-up study of Kim Jong-un’s personal psychology as a basis for conducting an updated North Korea threat assessment, Aug. 4, 2017.


Sen. John McCain dead at 81: August 25, 2018

Research and articles about John McCain by USPP contributors

The Political Personality of 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain. Research report, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, September 2008. Abstract and link for full-text (26 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/115/

John McCain: A question of temperament” (Aubrey Immelman St. Cloud Times, Nov. 1, 2008, p. 7B) — As Arizona Sen. John McCain tries to close the gap with Barack Obama in the final weekend leading up to Tuesday’s presidential election, his task is to convince the American people that he’s the right man to lead the nation at a time when America faces daunting economic challenges at home and urgent national security threats abroad. Voters, for their part, must discern whether McCain has the right stuff to move the nation in the right direction. A useful metric to take a measure of the man is temperament — that is, McCain’s mental and emotional predisposition to action. … Full report

McCain’s maverick nature is double-edged sword” (Amy Marschall and Aubrey Immelman, St. Cloud Times, Oct. 15, 2008, p. 7B) — As the 2008 presidential campaign enters the home stretch in a time of growing economic uncertainty, voters are taking a new look at John McCain, who clinched the Republican nomination largely on the basis of his military and foreign policy credentials in a time of war. … To obtain a more precise reading of the real McCain, we consulted four personality profiles of the Arizona senator, developed at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in 1999, 2007, and the spring and summer of 2008. Collectively, the profiles reveal a highly dominant individual with a dauntless, dissenting, adventurous streak and a strong outgoing tendency. … Full report

Maverick McCain finds his mojo — But what does it mean?” (Patrick Sweetman and Aubrey Immelman, St. Cloud Times, Jan. 10, 2008, p. 7B) — John McCain’s victory in Tuesday’s New Hampshire Republican primary has injected new life in a presidential campaign some had all but given up for dead. With recent polls showing McCain to be the Republican contender best positioned to beat the Democratic nominee in November, the resuscitation of McCain’s presidential prospects in New Hampshire raises anew the question of how he might govern as leader of the free world. … Full report

Heroism, timing help McCain’s campaign” (Matthew J. Tinguely and Aubrey Immelman, St. Cloud Times, March 5, 2000, p. 9B) — Despite the overwhelming support of elected Republican leaders and the Republican establishment for the candidacy of George W. Bush, the insurgent John McCain catapulted into the national spotlight with primary wins in New Hampshire, Michigan, and Arizona. Polls released last week show McCain running well ahead of Bush in a hypothetical two-way race against likely Democratic nominee Al Gore. … What drives the McCain political machine? Two words: “hero” and “personality.” … Full report

Former POW McCain’s rise in polls leads to more scrutiny” (Melisa S. Illies and Aubrey Immelman, St. Cloud Times, Nov. 28, 1999, p. 11B) — In the first of our College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University presidential candidate profiles (St. Cloud Times, Nov. 7), Stephanie Anderson and Holly Berreau commented on Elizabeth Dole’s withdrawal from the 2000 presidential race. It was inevitable that Dole’s departure would prompt more intense public scrutiny of Arizona Sen. John McCain as the now unrivaled challenger for Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s front-runner status in the bid for the Republican nomination. Unfortunately for McCain, his newfound ascent to prominence has been troubled by turbulence. At issue: persistent reports in the media of a “volcanic temper,” casting doubt on his fitness to govern. … Full report


Psychological profiles of world leaders presented at ISPP: July 5, 2018

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Aubrey Immelman presents his paper on “The political personality of 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump” at the 41st Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, San Antonio, Texas, July 4-7, 2018.

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Ganna Diedkova presents the results of her research, with Christ’l De Landtsheer, on “The value of electability in a hybrid regime: Comparing personality profiles of Russian president Vladimir Putin and his opponent Alexei Navalny” at the 41st Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, San Antonio, Texas, July 4-7, 2018.

More » Psychological profiles of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong-un presented at International Society of Political Psychology


USPP releases new research report: June 11, 2018

The Leadership Style of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un
Working paper by Aubrey Immelman, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, Collegeville and St. Joseph, Minn., June 10, 2018. Abstract and full text available for download at Digital Commons: https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/120/

Members of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics research team on TV Asahi in Japan to provide analysis for the Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's Chairman Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018. From left to right: Aubrey Immelman, Jim Hasselbrink, Anna Faerber, Joe Trenzeluk, Katelyn Hendrickson (screen shot courtesy TV Asahi).

Members of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics research team on TV Asahi in Japan to provide analysis for the Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018. From left to right: Aubrey Immelman, Jim Hasselbrink, Anna Faerber, Joe Trenzeluk, Katelyn Hendrickson (screen shot courtesy TV Asahi).


USPP releases new research report: April 8, 2018

The Personality Profile of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un
Working paper by Aubrey Immelman, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, Collegeville and St. Joseph, Minn., April 1, 2018. Abstract and full text available for download at Digital Commons: https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/119/

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USPP presents latest research findings: April 27, 2018

The Personality Profile of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
Research poster presented by Katlin Rice, Austen Luetmer, Suntina Spehar, Hillary Rethlake, Lucas Vetsch, Amanda Olson, and Mariah Ogden-Kellington, 18th Annual Celebrating Scholarship & Creativity Day, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, St. Joseph and Collegeville, Minn., April 26, 2018. (Faculty advisor: Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D.)

Kim Jong Un poster (2018)


Announcement: June 26, 2018

Katelyn Hendrickson, Director of Undergraduate Research at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics for the 2018-19 academic year.

College of St. Benedict senior psychology major Katelyn Hendrickson has been appointed Director of Undergraduate Research at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics for the 2018-19 academic year.

Her duties will include training students in undergraduate Personality Psychology courses in data collection procedures and coordinating group research projects on the personalities of U.S. president Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and other political figures.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, Katelyn was a teaching assistant for Dr. Ben Faber‘s Applied Behavioral Statistics course. She is currently working full-time as a summer 2018 research fellow at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics. In fall 2018 Katelyn will intern at the CentraCare Health/St. Cloud Hospital Behavioral Health Clinic, supervised by Dr. Scott Palmer.

Previous USPP research directors


Featured profiles

On July 16, 2018, U.S. president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin will have a summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

Compare the psychological profiles of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump

Putin-poster_revised Trump poster (July 2015)

The Political Personality of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. Working paper, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, January 2017. Abstract and link for full-text (36 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/104/

The Political Personality of 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump. Working paper, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, October 2016. (Paper presented at the 41st Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, San Antonio, TX, July 4-7, 2018.) Abstract and link for full-text (31 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/103/

The Leadership Style of U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Working paper, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, January 2017. Abstract and link for full-text (14 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/107/


Study currently in progress

The leadership style of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un » http://personality-politics.org/the-personality-profile-of-north-korean-supreme-leader-kim-jong-un


Kim Jong-un’s Extreme Makeover (Robin Stein, Ainara Tiefenthäler, and Natalie Reneau, New York Times, April 28, 2018) — How did North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, go from being an international pariah to a smiling diplomat in a matter of a few months? (03:02)


Previous studies available for download

Index of psychological studies of U.S. presidents and presidential candidates, foreign leaders, and prominent terrorist figures conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics » http://personality-politics.org/2017-media-tipsheet/


Psychology Faculty Publications



Work at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics is dedicated to the memory of Theodore Millon, Ph.D., D.Sc.

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Dr. Theodore Millon receives the Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Application of Psychology at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Boston, Mass.

Books and Other Media

Millon_Disorders-of-Personality_cover   Millon_Toward-a-New-Personology_cover     Millon_Masters-of-the-Mind_cover   The Millon Inventories cover