Donald Trump

The Personality Profile of 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

August 9, 2015

A psychological analysis of real estate mogul and television celebrity Donald Trump — a contender for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election — by Hannah Hoppe and Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, revealed that Trump’s predominant personality pattern is Ambitious/self-serving (a measure of narcissism) with secondary features of the Dominant/controlling and Outgoing/gregarious patterns. In summary, Trump’s personality composite can be characterized as a high-dominance charismatic.


October 2016 update: Donald Trump’s predominant personality patterns are Ambitious/exploitative (a measure of narcissism) and Outgoing/impulsive, infused with secondary features of the Dominant/controlling pattern, and supplemented by a Dauntless/adventurous tendency. This particular personality composite can be labeled amorous narcissism or, in political terms, high-dominance charismatic — charismatic by virtue of the highly elevated primary Ambitious–Outgoing amalgam.

January 2017 update: Donald Trump’s core personality-based leadership traits may be summarized as follows: an active-positive presidential character with mobilization — the ability to arouse, engage, and direct the public — as his key leadership asset; an overall leadership style that is distinctively charismatic and nondeliberative; and a high-dominance, extraverted, influential foreign policy orientation.


Trump poster (July 2015)
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Analysis of the major findings of the 2015 study, as published in an opinion column in the St. Cloud Times

Trump Driven by Narcissistic Dreams of Glory (Hannah Hoppe, St. Cloud Times, Aug. 9, 2015) — A high profile business mogul turned celebrity TV star insults an entire group of people and a nationally recognized war hero, yet expands his lead in the polls in pursuit of the highest office in the land. Anyone not living under a rock knows the candidate in question is Donald Trump — “The Donald.” … Full report

Trump research presented at National Conference on Undergraduate Research


Hannah Hoppe presented her research poster “Personality Profiling of 2016 GOP Presidential Candidates: The Case of Donald Trump” at NCUR 2016, the 30th Anniversary National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, April 7-9, 2016.


Personality Profiling of 2016 GOP Presidential Candidates:
The Case of Donald Trump

The poster presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Donald J. Trump, Republican presidential contender in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The study was conducted from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon. Diagnostic information concerning Trump was collected from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which taps the attribute domains of expressive behavior, interpersonal conduct, cognitive style, mood/temperament, and self-image, yielding 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM–IV.

The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals.

Trump’s personality pattern was found to be Ambitious/self-serving (a measure of narcissism), Dominant/controlling, and Outgoing/gregarious. The label high-dominance charismatic serves as shorthand for this particular personality composite, given that political charisma typically is a function of supreme self-confidence in combination with high-energy extraversion and social dominance.

Leaders who score high on both the Ambitious and Outgoing scales are adept at self-promotion and skilled in the art of social influence. Although highly ambitious and driven, they have a tendency to be undisciplined, with a penchant for thinking superficially and speaking in generalities. They are prone to act impulsively and ultimately are more attuned to their own needs than to those of others.

Leaders who score high on the Dominant scale are tough and combative, and are perceived as strong leaders – an important aspect of electability.

The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for identifying – and direct comparison of his election rivals – Trump’s major strengths and limitations as a candidate and anticipating his likely leadership style as president.

Personal Electability Index (political impact) score

Donald Trump scores extraordinarily high on the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria-based Personal Electability Index, which has accurately predicted the outcome of every presidential election since 1996.

Following are the PEI calculations for Donald Trump:

Donald Trump: PEI = 62

Scale: 1A 1B 2 3 4 5A 5B 6 7 8
Score: 19 11 24 19 1 0 6 2 1 0

Scale: 1A = 19; 2 = 24; 3 =19; 6 = 2; 8 = 0

[Extraversion (scale 3) = 19] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 24] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 19] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (2 – 2) = 0] = 62 – 0 = 62

Dysfunctionality adjusted
[Extraversion (scale 3) = 15] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 15] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 15] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (2 – 2) = 0] = 45 – 0 = 45

July 2016 Update

Donald Trump: PEI = 65

Scale: 1A 1B 2 3 4 5A 5B 6 7 8
Score: 17 9 24 24 0 0 4 0 0 0

Scale: 1A = 17; 2 = 24; 3 = 24; 6 = 0; 8 = 0

[Extraversion (scale 3) = 24] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 24] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 17] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (2 – 2) = 0] = 65 – 0 = 65
Dysfunctionality adjusted
[Extraversion (scale 3) = 15] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 15] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 15] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (0 – 0) = 0] = 45 – 0 = 45

Update: July 2016 Replication/Validity Study

A follow-up replication study of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump by Anna Faerber and Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, revealed that Trump’s predominant personality patterns are Ambitious/exploitative (a measure of narcissism) and Outgoing/impulsive, infused with secondary features of the Dominant/controlling pattern, and supplemented by Dauntless/adventurous and Contentious/resolute tendencies. These findings do not differ significantly from those of the original summer 2015 study. The replication study confirms that Trump’s personality composite is best characterized as a high-dominance charismatic — charismatic by virtue of the highly elevated primary Ambitious-Outgoing amalgam.

Trump poster (2016)
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Analysis of the major findings of the 2016 study, as published in an opinion column in the St. Cloud Times

Trump’s Personality Could Win, Except … (Anna Faerber, St. Cloud Times, Aug. 21, 2016) — How could a man no one thought would make it through the primaries clinch his party’s nomination for the highest office in the land? To answer that question, a team of investigators at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University embarked on a project to develop a psychological analysis of Trump. … Full report

Update: Detailed Psychological Assessments Released (Nov. 4, 2016)

The Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics has released political-psychological assessments of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Executive Summary: Donald J. Trump

Full text (31 pages)
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)

Executive Summary: Hillary Clinton

Full text (34 pages)
The Political Personality of 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton (Working paper, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, October 2016)

Comparison of the Personalities of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

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Republican Leaders Map a Strategy to Derail Donald Trump (Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, New York Times, Mar. 19, 2016) — Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election. … Full report

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Donald Trump is profiled against his 92-story Trump International Hotel & Tower during a news conference on construction progress in Chicago.

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Donald Trump Accepts Presidential Nomination

Donald Trump accepts the Republican Party’s nomination for president on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Donald Trump accepts the Republican Party’s nomination for president on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Photo credit: John Moore / Getty Images)

By Stephen Collinson

July 22, 2016


Donald Trump conjured a dire picture Thursday of an America sliding deeper into poverty, violence and corruption and declared himself the only person who could avert disaster.

Accepting the Republican nomination in Cleveland, the billionaire twice pledged to be a “voice” for working Americans, restore law and order and to confound elites and doubters by winning the White House in November. …

Trump, whose unpredictable campaign has broken every rule of politics, portrayed America as a broken nation that only he can fix. …

Trump’s lengthy address — clocking in at one hour and 15 minutes — was the most crucial moment yet in his transformation from a brash tycoon and reality star with a sometimes vulgar tongue to a politician on the cusp of the presidency with an expansive vision of disruptive change. …

Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican convention, as prepared for delivery

Donald Trump is a Unique Threat to American Democracy

Donald Trump addressed the GOP convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016. The Republican presidential candidate spoke for more than one hour; we broke it down to less than five minutes. (Deirdra O’Regan / The Washington Post)

By Editorial Board

July 22, 2016


DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril. We recognize that this is not the usual moment to make such a statement. In an ordinary election year, we would acknowledge the Republican nominee, move on to the Democratic convention and spend the following months, like other voters, evaluating the candidates’ performance in debates, on the stump and in position papers. This year we will follow the campaign as always, offering honest views on all the candidates. But we cannot salute the Republican nominee or pretend that we might endorse him this fall. A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world.

Why are we so sure? Start with experience. It has been 64 years since a major party nominated anyone for president who did not have electoral experience. …

The lack of experience might be overcome if Mr. Trump saw it as a handicap worth overcoming. But he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears to believe he needs no advice. In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. …

Given his ignorance, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. …

Most alarming is Mr. Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and the unwritten democratic norms upon which our system depends. He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document. …

Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. …

Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.

Full editorial at the Washington Post

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A Question of Temperament: Donald Trump’s Fitness to Lead



New York Times columnist Frank Bruni assesses Donald Trump’s personality


Trump’s “tortured psyche: the bloated ego, the boundless need, the capriciousness, the obsession with appearances.”


What Kind of President? Trump, ‘High-Dominance Charismatic’

President-elect Donald Trump leans over to talk with Vice President-elect Mike Pence during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP via St. Cloud Times)

By Aubrey Immelman
St. Cloud Times
January 20, 2017

On Friday, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States in what, for some, was not so much an occasion for celebration as one of trepidation. In fact, no less than his predecessor painted Trump during the election campaign as “not qualified to be president.”

That raises the question: Does Trump have what it takes, in his words, to “Make America Great Again?” With no political track record in elected office, it’s difficult indeed to anticipate how Trump will lead.

Window to the future

Political psychology offers a window to the future. That’s because personality — a person’s ingrained behavior patterns — dictates how that individual will act over time in a broad variety of situations. In short, accurate personality assessment allows us to anticipate leadership behavior.

As previously reported (“Trump’s personality raises red flags,” Nov. 26, 2016), a psychological study of Trump conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics revealed that Trump’s predominant personality patterns are outgoing/impulsive and ambitious/exploitative (a measure of narcissism), infused with secondary features of the dominant/controlling pattern and low conscientiousness — a personality composite characterized as a “high-dominance charismatic.”

Because presidential behavior is dictated as much by circumstances and structural constraints on the power of the presidency as by personality — frequently more so — personality analysis can go only so far, painting presidential prospects in broad strokes rather than minute detail. In short, personality can point only to the general tenor of a prospective presidency.

Trump’s likely leadership style

As a “high-dominance charismatic” Trump assumes the mantle of leadership with a Clintonian combination of extraversion and self-confidence, buttressed by a level of dominance not seen since Lyndon B. Johnson. In addition, he is practically devoid of his predecessor’s accommodating disposition (“Obama is a ‘confident conciliator,’ ” Sept. 8, 2012) or George H.W. Bush’s prudent conscientiousness.

Trump’s psychological profile raises the following generalized expectancies regarding his leadership style as president:

  • Leadership motivation: power, self-validation, pragmatism. As an extraordinarily confident individual with an unshakable belief in his own talents, leadership ability, and potential for success, a quest for power will be the prime motivator for Trump’s leadership behavior, punctuated by a need to control situations and dominate adversaries. Furthermore, Trump’s outgoing nature suggests concern with popular approval and a striving for self-validation to affirm his inflated self-esteem. In addition, he will likely be more pragmatic than ideological to consummate his political objectives.
  • Leadership orientation: goal directed, loyalty expected. Given his supreme self-confidence and high dominance, Trump will likely be more goal directed than relationship oriented. As a task-oriented leader, Trump will not permit the maintenance of good relations to stand in the way of goal achievement. This orientation will be offset to some extent by Trump’s outgoing tendencies which, in addition, will also prime him to place a high premium on loyalty among his advisors and members of his administration.
  • Job performance: energy dynamo. Big egos have a strong drive to prove themselves. Thus, Trump can be expected to be tireless in the amount of effort invested in carrying out the duties of his office. This tendency will be reinforced by strong power motivation stemming from high dominance and boundless energy derived from his extraverted, outgoing personality.
  • Managerial style: advocate, not consensus builder. In organizing and managing the decision-making process, Trump will be heavy on self-promotion and persuasion, making him more of an advocate for his policy agenda than a consensus builder or an arbitrator.
  • Dealing with Congress: competitive, controlling. In dealing with Congress, Trump will most likely act in a competitive and controlling manner — though he certainly is capable of behaving in a cooperative, harmonious fashion if he believes it will further his own self-interest.
  • The people and the press: active, uncooperative. In relating to the public, outgoing, confident leaders such as Trump typically are active and engaged, articulating and defending their policies in person rather than relying on surrogates and proxies. This tendency will be reinforced by Trump’s dominant, strong-willed, outspoken personality and fueled by his extraversion, which will feed his preference for direct engagement with the public. As for media relations, Trump will maintain a measure of harmony with the press, to the extent he feels he can call the shots. However, the likelihood of a highly critical press, in conjunction with Trump’s sensitivity to personal slights, portends a relatively closed relationship with the media characterized by a lack of cooperation that could quickly escalate to outright hostility.

Rash words may be par for the course in the heat of political campaigns and calling Trump unqualified may be best consigned to that particular chapter in the annals of presidential history. What cannot be denied is that President Trump counts among the least experienced incumbents in recent memory. Time will tell if Trump is equal to the daunting task he now faces in this new chapter of his illustrious, if checkered, career — and whether personality will be destiny.

This is the opinion of Aubrey Immelman, associate professor of psychology at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, where he directs a faculty-student collaborative research program in political psychology, the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics. Immelman specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.


Russia Compiles Psychological Dossier on Trump for Putin

By Bill Neely

February 20, 2017

MOSCOW — A dossier on Donald Trump’s psychological makeup is being prepared for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser.

Trump “doesn’t understand fully who is Mr. Putin — he is a tough guy,” former Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov told NBC News.

Added content: Psychological Profile of Vladimir Putin

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The file is being compiled by retired diplomats and some of Putin’s staff, he added.

The attempt to get inside the U.S. president’s mind is aimed at helping Putin plan for his first meeting with America’s new leader, the date for which is yet to be decided.

“Very serious preparatory work is going on in the Kremlin, including a paper — seven pages — describing a psychological portrait of Trump [link added], especially based on this last two to three months, and the last weeks,” added Fedorov, who said he has known Trump since 2000.

The dossier was being revised regularly, he said, adding that many in the Kremlin believed that Trump viewed the presidency as a business.

Fedorov added: “Trump is not living in a box — he is living in a crowd. He should listen to the people around him especially in the areas where he is weak.”

It is normal for any president or leader to be fully briefed before entering negotiations for the first time with a rival leader, but preparing a detailed dossier on the mind and instincts of a U.S. leader is unusual. …

Full report


Is Donald Trump a “Malignant Narcissist”?

Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock
Photo: Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock via Psychology Today

Psychology Today recently (Jan. 31, 2017) reported:

In the several days since psychologist John Gartner posted a petition on Facebook declaring that Donald Trump must be removed from office because he has “a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States,” more than 18,000 psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals have signed their agreement.

Gartner, a psychologist in private practice in Baltimore and New York, author of a psychobiography of Bill Clinton, and a former instructor in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, contends that Trump “manifestly” meets the DSM-published criteria for at least three personality disorders: narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder. They are a “toxic brew” that in his view not only make Trump “dangerous” but add up to “malignant narcissism,” not a diagnosis formalized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [of mental disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association] but a label coined by the German-born psychologist and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm.

An indirect personality assessment of Donald Trump conducted 2015–2016 from the conceptual perspective of psychologist Theodore Millon, employing the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which is congruent with Axis II of DSM–IV, revealed that Trump’s predominant personality patterns are Ambitious/exploitative (Scale 2: a measure of narcissistic tendencies) and Outgoing/impulsive (Scale 3: a measure of histrionic tendencies), infused with secondary features of the Dominant/controlling pattern (Scale 1A: a measure of sadistic tendencies) and supplemented by a Dauntless/adventurous tendency (Scale 1B: a measure of antisocial and sensation-seeking tendencies).

The study found no empirical evidence of a Distrusting personality pattern (Scale 9: a measure of paranoid tendencies) — an integral component of malignant narcissism, a severely disturbed personality disorder characterized by narcissistic grandiosity, self-absorption, and lack of empathy; no constraints of conscience (an antisocial tendency); a paranoid orientation; and unconstrained aggression (sadism). Notably, Scale 1A (sadistic) and Scale 1B (antisocial) also failed to reach the MIDC scale elevation threshold of 24 required for inferring the existence of a personality disorder. Consequently, it cannot be concluded that Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist.

According to the Psychology Today report, psychiatrist Allen Frances — who helped write the criteria for personality disorders — views “public diagnoses being bandied about” as inaccurate and missing the point, because “they ignore the criterion that symptoms must be causing distress and impairment.” Donald Trump, according to Frances, “causes distress to others, not to himself … [and] is rewarded for his behaviors.”



Trump’s mental health: ‘The elephant in the room’ (“The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” MSNBC, Feb. 23, 2017) — As psychologists and psychiatrists continue to warn about President Trump’s mental health, the Columbia Journalism Review called Trump’s mental health “the elephant in the room.” Lee Siegel, who wrote the CJR column, and Dr. Lance Dodes join Lawrence. (Duration: 7:04)


The Case for Donald Trump’s Mental Fitness

Chris Cillizza
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

January 4, 2018


In the wake of three days of erratic behavior and amid the controversy caused by a book suggesting he is forgetful and dismissed by many who work for him, questions of President Donald Trump’s mental competence are everywhere. …

Trump is who he has always been.

Think about the sorts of behaviors that Trump’s critics point to as examples of his lack of mental competence or deteriorating mental state:

  • He is impetuous
  • He is quick to anger
  • He appears unengaged in details
  • He keeps erratic hours
  • He says things that are probably false
  • He has an exaggerated — and grandiose — vision of his own life
  • He punishes enemies

There are others, of course. But these, I think, broadly cover the competence critique made against Trump.

Now, go back over that list. And ask yourself whether any of those behaviors are new since Trump has been elected president.

While you’re doing that, let me remind you that Trump did the following things as either a candidate or private citizen:

Those are the ones I came up with off the top of my head. There are scores of others examples just like them. …

Trump is today who he has been the entirety of his adult life. …

The Trump on the campaign trail — full of bravado, fiercely unapologetic, dramatic, obsessed with victimization — was the Trump of the wheeling-and-dealing 1980s. It was the Trump of the reality TV show years. And it is the Trump of the White House.

The obvious pushback to this argument is that simply because Trump’s behavior isn’t inconsistent with who he has been his entire life doesn’t mean that he is mentally well enough to hold the office of the presidency.

Fair enough. I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, so diagnosing what, if anything, has long been wrong with Trump mentally (and if that impedes his ability to do the job) is well beyond my skill set.

But what seems clear — at least to me — is that the case for some sort of mental deterioration from Trump since he has been in office simply isn’t there. …

Read the full story at

Related report

Donald Trump’s Narcissism Is Not the Main Issue (Aug. 11, 2016)

Confident-Narcissistic_spectrum Sociable-Histrionic_spectrum
© 2015 MILLON® (Click on images for larger view)


Related reports

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:

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. Abstract and link for full-text (31 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons:

Alternate link to “The Personality Profile of 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump” »

Donald Trump’s official campaign website