- According to a new study, there are nine common dark personality traits.
- Results of the study showed people with one trait are more likely to have one or more of the others.
- This is down to something called the “D-factor.”
- The D-factor involves a tendency to put your own goals and interest above anything else.
If someone has a Dark Tetrad personality type, it means they can have any of the following traits: sadism, psychopathy, narcissism, or Machiavellianism.
Other traits that show a “dark core,” according to research from the University of Copenhagen, are egoism, spitefulness, and entitlement.
In a new paper called “The Dark Core of Personality,” published in the Psychological Review, having any one of these tendencies could mean you are more likely to have one or more of the others. And this is down to something called the “D-factor.”
According to the new research, the common denominator of dark personalities is the “general tendency to maximise one’s individual utility – disregarding, accepting, or malevolently provoking disutility for others – accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications.”
Essentially, this means putting your own goals and interest above anything else, even if that means hurting other people. It also means being able to justify your actions, no matter how damaging they might be.
Researchers Ingo Zettler, a psychologist at the University of Copenhagen, Morten Moshagen, a professor at Ulm University, and Benjamin Hilbig, a professor at the University of Koblenz-Landau, studied 2,500 people, asking them to agree or disagree with statements such as, “It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there,” “It is sometimes worth a little suffering on my part to see others receive the punishment they deserve,” or “I know that I am special because everyone keeps telling me so.”
Participants were also asked about their aggression, impulsivity, and selfish or unethical behaviour.
Zettler said the results showed how dark aspects of personality seem to have a common denominator, similar to how scoring higher on an intelligence test tends to mean you score higher on others. This suggests dark traits are all the expression of the same mental outlook on life, which the researchers named the D-factor.
Here are nine of the most common dark personality traits the team identified, all of which have far more in common than what separates them.
Egoism – The excessive need to put your own needs first at the expense of others.
Machiavellianism – The belief that the ends justify the means, no matter how manipulative or callous.
Moral disengagement – The ability to behave unethically without worrying about the consequences.
Narcissism – Self-obsession, delusions of grandeur, and looking down on everyone else, yet also wanting their attention.
Psychological entitlement – Believing you are better than everyone and deserve better treatment than you give out to others.
Psychopathy – A lack of empathy or shame coupled with impulsive, reckless behaviour.
Sadism – Wanting to inflict emotional or physical harm on others because you find it enjoyable.
Self-interest – Desiring social and financial success above all else.
Spitefulness – Destructiveness and willingness to cause harm to others, even if you get hurt yourself as a result.
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