At first, being selfish has nothing to do with being a psychopath. In our society, moreover, the former is more accepted than the latter. But although at first glance there may seem to be notable differences between these traits, Research shows that these two aspects of human personality are closely related.
Egoism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, sadism, narcissism, rancor and other character traits have a common origin, and scientists from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) they have called it “the dark core of personality,” a hidden factor in ruthless behavior.
If a person has a tendency to display any of these traits it is more likely that it has also developed others. Behind this propensity, according to the research, which has been published in Psychological Review, there is a general predisposition to maximize one’s benefit.
In other words, the study determines that “all the ‘dark traits’ can be traced back to the general tendency to put one’s own goals and interests before those of others”even to the point of “feeling pleasure in hurting others”, along with a series of beliefs that serve as justifications and, therefore, to prevent feelings of guilt or shame.
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The theoretical framework of this research, which research scientists call D-Factoris inspired by another study, the G-Factorwritten by the English psychologist Charles Spearman.
According to this last factor, a person who scores high on an intelligence test You will also do well on tests that measure other types of intelligence.since there is “an underlying general factor” of the intellect.
“The dark aspects of the human personality also have a common denominator, which means that – just like intelligence – they can all be said to be expressions of the same tendency,” explained psychologist Ingo Zettler of the University of Copenhagen in some statements collected by Sciencealert.
The researchers asked more than 2,500 people to what extent they agreed or disagreed with statements like “I will say anything to get what I want”, “I know I am special because everyone tells me so”, “sometimes it is worth a little suffering on my part to see others receive the punishment they deserve”.
With the results of the study, the scientists were able to calculate the probability that a person would engage in behavior associated with one or more of these traits factor D dark.
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In addition, they were able to verify that, in practice, a person who exhibits a particular malevolent behavior – such as pleasure in humiliating others – will have a higher chance of engaging in other malicious activities as well —such as cheating, lying, or stealing.
This discovery may be useful, according to the researchers, to assess the likelihood that a person will reoffend or engage in more harmful behavior. Meanwhile and waiting for that to happen, the team has made available to everyone an online quiz to measure one’s own factor D score.