Opinion: Don’t blame Anthony Weiner, blame his ‘Type T personality’


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Although psychologist Frank Farley hasn’t weighed in on Anthony Weiner on our pages, he did recently write an Op-Ed article pegged to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sex scandal about why successful politicians are predisposed to sexual indiscretions: They’re hardwired that way. Farley introduces the ‘Type T personality’:

There are many possible factors: a need to express power, a love of conquest, perhaps narcissism — all characteristics that may serve a politician well in other arenas. But in my view the factor most responsible for philandering in public officials is a predisposition for risk-taking, which also happens to be an essential quality for politicians. My label for it is the ‘Type T personality,’ with the ‘T’ standing for thrill. Being a Type T doesn’t have to be a problem: Many of America’s great successes and achievements couldn’t have happened without risk-takers. The nation was founded by Type T men who weren’t afraid to rise up against one of the world’s great empires. I believe the United States can be characterized to some extent as a Type T nation, tilting in the risk-taking direction. But Type T individuals may also be prone to negative types of risk-taking, including crime, drug use or sexual encounters that end badly. Risk-takers want to live exciting, interesting, challenging lives. They tend to believe they control their fates. They are often attracted to variety, novelty, intensity and uncertainty. They are often creative, show independence of judgment and tend to have strong sexual drives and high energy.


Though Farely doesn’t assign a gender to the ‘Type T personality,’ all of the misbehaving politicians he cites are men.


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Top photo: An undated photo taken from the website, run by conservative activist Andrew Breitbart, purports to show Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) shirtless. Credit: AP Photo. Bottom photo: Weiner pauses while speaking at a news conference in New York on June 6, 2011. Credit: Jin Lee / Bloomberg