An Assessment Of Donald Trump's Character, Based On Its Scientific Definition


This Thursday marks the third annual "Character Day," a day dedicated to exploring -- you guessed it -- character.

Character Day was created by Tiffany Shlain and Let It Ripple, a film studio with partners including the US Department of State, Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, Outward Bound, the American Federation of Teachers and many other organizations.

Let It Ripple provides films and materials all about character. You're supposed to watch a movie and then discuss it. Over 81,000 groups in 121 countries said they're going to do it on Thursday -- you can join by using #CharacterDay2016.

So let's take a look at the movie "The Science of Character" and discuss Donald Trump.

In case you didn't watch that eight-minute video, I'll break it down for you. Basically, it says psychologists created a periodic table of character strengths.

There are 24 character strengths under six core virtues, which are, like, what makes you a good person:

Let It Ripple

Throughout 2016, Trump has been aggressively displaying his character (remember, character isn't necessarily a good thing, it's just how you are).

The video explains there are seven traits in particular that can make a person great: optimism, gratitude, social intelligence, curiosity, self-control, enthusiasm and perseverance.

Based on the video's explanation of these seven traits, I'm going to analyze if Trump has what it takes:


Well, Trump's campaign has been built on fear and pessimism. He likes saying everything is awful right now, like he did during his speech at the Republican National Convention in July.

The next week, during the Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama clapped back with all the good stuff that's going on in America. It made us feel much more optimistic about the path our country is on.

Then again, Trump does think he can make America great again and insists he's going to win in November, and that's pretty optimistic.

Optimism score: 4/10


Last year, Trump said life has "not been easy for [him]." He said he started in Brooklyn where his father gave him a "small loan of a million dollars."

I feel like other people may have felt more gracious to get a million dollars, so that's not great.

Gratitude score: 0/10

Social Intelligence

Social intelligence basically means you know how to get along well with other people.

Trump managed to piss off women, Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans and people with disabilities in the last year. And when someone tries to criticize him, he often snaps back like a 5-year-old child.

To Trump's credit, he apparently successfully navigated what must've been a very awkward meeting with the president of Mexico. But then he turned around and pissed him off a day later, which doesn't show much social intelligence.

Social intelligence score: 2/10


You know what? Trump is pretty curious. He does love his conspiracy theories, even if sometimes they're racist or sexist, or ridiculous.

Many people say Trump has an active imagination. Fair enough!

Curiosity score: 9/10


Here are some things Trump tweeted in one day:

That last tweet there references the second time Trump vaguely discussed the murder of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Also, one time he said,

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters.

Self-control score: 1/10

(He gets one point for not actually shooting anyone.)


Trump is nothing if not enthusiastic:

Enthusiasm score: 10/10


Trump's still here, which shows perseverance.

But he did give up on his years-long campaign of convincing people Obama was not born in America, which shows a low amount of perseverance.

Perseverance score: 6/10

Trump didn't score so hot in the best character strengths to have, but there's good news for him.

According to social scientists, you actually can change your character. You just have to really work on it.

So for #CharacterDay2016, Trump should think about the qualities he can work on. If he doesn't win the election, at least he can improve his character.

Citations: Let It Ripple, Politico