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Saturday, 5 August, 2000, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
What makes a great president?
Bill Clinton
President Clinton can be classified as an extrovert
By science correspondent Ania Lichtarowicz

Great presidents of the United States have been stubborn and disagreeable.

That is according to new research presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

The study has compared the personality traits of all 41 US leaders to date with what historians perceive as presidential greatness.

Richard Nixon
Nixon had a "domineering personality"
To assess the personalities of each US president, the authors of the report looked at historical records and biographies of the presidents in the years written before they entered office - to avoid the influence that life in the White House may have had on their behaviour.

The researchers found that the presidents who went down in history as being America's greatest tended to be stubborn, disagreeable people.

They also tended to be more extroverted, assertive and generally more open-minded.

They scored low on traits like straightforwardness and vulnerability.

Categories

Nearly all the United States presidents could be classified into categories.

For instance, Nixon and Teddy Roosevelt had dominating personalities; Hoover and Wilson were introverts and the extroverts included Kennedy and Clinton.

The study also suggests that presidents given low marks by historians for greatness tended not to be able to cope with problems on their own.

But it does seem that being tidy does not necessarily lead to historical greatness - according to the authors, Lincoln appeared to have been a bit disorganised.

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