Does personality shape political ambition? If so, how? These are the questions guiding the latest research of  Carl Palmer, assistant professor of Politics and Government. Palmer presented his research February 21 to students and faculty as part of the department’s Brown Bag series.

Palmer provided a glimpse into what is currently a working paper, co-authored with Rolfe Peterson of Susquehanna University, in which they  explore the implications of the “dark triad” of personality traits—Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy—on a persons’ interest in seeking political office. Using a survey of nearly 2,000 college students, they find that individuals who rank higher on self-expressed Machiavellianism and narcissism are more interested in running for office, but it is only the Machiavellians who are interested in doing the work.

The talk drew an audience of several people, who enjoyed a lunch catered by Moe’s Southwest Grill. A good time was had by all.