• Psychological characteristics;
  • at-a-distance measurements;
  • operational code;
  • conceptual complexity

This article provides an overview of the issues, methods, and constructs presented in the papers for the symposium Issues in Assessing Psychological Characteristics at a Distance. These papers share a substantive focus on the psychological characteristics of U.S. presidents and a common commitment to the use of ‘at-a-distance’ assessment techniques. In this context, at-a distance measures raise several substantive and methodological issues, including the connections between leaders and advisors, the value of public versus private rhetoric, and differences between spontaneous and prepared source material. The authors of the papers use two psychological constructs, the operational code and conceptual complexity, to investigate these issues and to illustrate the utility of at-a-distance methods for assessing psychological characteristics.