A recently published study may give new insight into the darker side of human psychology.
Egoism, spitefulness, and entitlement are the central traits in what researchers at the University of Copenhagen are referring to as the “dark core.”
And according to a new paper titled the “The Dark Core of Personality” those who display one of these traits could be more likely have others, such as sadism, psychopathy, narcissism, or Machiavellianism.
Scientists are calling this interconnection the “D-factor.”
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) September 28, 2018
According to the study “the D-factor can be defined as the general tendency to maximize one’s individual utility — disregarding, accepting, or malevolently provoking disutility for others — , accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications.”
The study was conducted by 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.
The researchers asked 2,500 people how strongly they agreed or disagreed 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,” and “I know that I am special because everyone keeps telling me so.”
Zettler says the study shows a common denominator between the darker personality traits and the tendency to put one’s own self-interest ahead of others, sometimes even at their expense
These tendencies are also often coupled with traits that justify or rationalize antisocial and immoral behaviors. “Narcissism, for example, is a strong justification for malevolent behavior,” Zettler told Newsweek. “Because such individuals feel entitled to deserve more and to be simply better than others.”
In all, the researchers identified 9 dark personality traits.
- Egoism: preoccupation with one’s own achievement at the expense of others
- Machiavellianism: “a manipulative, callous attitude and a belief that the ends justify the means”
- Moral disengagement: the ability to behave unethically without feeling bad about it
- Narcissism: excessive self-absorption, superiority, and extreme need for attention
- Psychological entitlement: the belief that one is superior to others
- Psychopathy: lack of empathy and self-control; impulsivity
- Sadism: desire to inflict mental or physical harm on others for one’s own pleasure or benefit
- Self-interest: desire to boost/highlight one’s own social or financial status
- Spitefulness: willingness to retaliate/cause harm to others—even if it hurts oneself
Zettler says awareness of the correlation between these traits could be significant for researchers and therapists.
“In cases of extreme violence, or rule-breaking, lying, and deception in the corporate or public sectors…knowledge about a person’s D-factor may be a useful tool, for example to assess the likelihood that the person will reoffend or engage in more harmful behavior.”
The test, which is now available online seems to be invading timelines every where.
my whole timeline is dark core personality tests
— boss baby hyejoo (@olivehyeju) September 27, 2018
my tl lived in harmony until the dark core personality test attacked
— lady loki warrior (@dykezuIa) September 28, 2018
i’m not taking it i don’t want to join a cult
— sarah ♡ yena (@cupidjkook) September 28, 2018
That dark core test tho pic.twitter.com/yzSux44jJS
— (@straybebe) September 28, 2018
The results have many a little bit worried.
Not sure how to feel about mine…I feel and existential crisis on the horizon pic.twitter.com/FvvkrSoyLf
— S. N. B. We Purple You (@MicWent) September 27, 2018
I just took that dark core joint and I feel disgusting
— [frozone ⛄️] (@Wamzy_) September 28, 2018
Bro this test made me feel like trash lmao
— T’Childish (@ThreezyMcBucket) September 28, 2018
Yknow im cool w my dark core personality test like its fine but ive been looking at everyone else’s and no one has gotten higher than me in one specific section and im just pic.twitter.com/z1TG4INTTX
— Duke (@duke_lazy) September 27, 2018
i did the dark core test and oof mom i’m scared pic.twitter.com/fKNAWFUoQW
— ♡ (@Iesbianchavez) September 28, 2018
Me after taking the dark core personality test pic.twitter.com/3pcCUFfZyg
— Stupid Bimbo (@gilgameshfan69) September 28, 2018
And once scores were posted everyone started giving each other some heavy side-eye.
seeing ppl u follow take the dark core test pic.twitter.com/XpyG7HQHJP
— KAIT! (@koolkait1) September 28, 2018
me after seeing some of yalls dark core personality results pic.twitter.com/nJ9VMCXgJL
— ✧･ﾟ: *✧ (@villainpiss) September 28, 2018
Why do all my mutuals seem to be psychopaths, based on that Dark Core Personality test.
— Sam (@JinsoulSpitOnMe) September 28, 2018
everyone looking at my dark core scores and wondering if they should still follow me. pic.twitter.com/5hkTvFf9WR
— mae| ahs spoilers (@michaelIangdons) September 28, 2018
Though perhaps the ones posting scores aren’t the ones you should be worried about.
Let’s say I took the “Dark Core Personality Test” but will not publish the results for tactical reasons pic.twitter.com/2g9csd1WHO
— Joseph Tweet (@Abessinier) September 28, 2018