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Many negatively connoted personality traits (often termed “dark traits”) have been introduced to account for ethically, morally, and socially questionable behavior. Herein, we provide a unifying, comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding dark personality in terms of a general dispositional tendency of which dark traits arise as specific manifestations. That is, we theoretically specify the common core of dark traits, which we call the Dark Factor of Personality ( D ). The fluid concept of D captures individual differences in the tendency to maximize one’s individual utility—disregarding, accepting, or malevolently provoking disutility for others—accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications. To critically test D, we unify and extend prior work methodologically and empirically by considering a large number of dark traits simultaneously, using statistical approaches tailored to capture both the common core and the unique content of dark traits, and testing the predictive validity of both D and the unique content of dark traits with respect to diverse criteria including fully consequential and incentive-compatible behavior. In a series of four studies ( N > 2,500), we provide evidence in support of the theoretical conceptualization of D, show that dark traits can be understood as specific manifestations of D, demonstrate that D predicts a multitude of criteria in the realm of ethically, morally, and socially questionable behavior, and illustrate that D does not depend on any particular indicator variable included.
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... 25 Dark personality traits are complex and varied. 26 In this study, we adopted the Dark Tetrad, that includes Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism. 27 Similarly, studies have found a positive predictive relationship between CEU and dark personalities. ...
... Correspondingly, the effect sizes of these dark personalities on the altruistic PSB were smaller than that of other types, indicating that these dark personalities are less associated with behaviors that do not benefit them, and tend to be more self-centered than altruistic. 25,26,30,31 In addition, narcissism cannot significantly predict dire, that also verifies that narcissism has diverse effects on different PSBs. 42 This may be because in a dire situation, narcissists may not weigh up whether or not this behavior will bring them credit, and therefore this cannot be significantly predicted in the model. ...
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Purpose: Childhood environments have an impact on an individuals' behavior and cognition. We explored the relationship and possible mechanisms between childhood environmental unpredictability (CEU) and prosocial behavior (PSB) in adults. Participants and methods: We recruited Chinese college students (N = 1035) and adopted a questionnaire survey and structural equation modeling. Results: The results showed that CEU negatively predicted PSB in adults. Life-history strategy and dark personality chains mediated this relationship. Higher CEU facilitated faster development of life-history strategies in individuals, and dark personalities, via fast life-history strategies, further influenced PSB in adults. The mediating pathways of Machiavellianism, narcissism, and sadism were significant, while psychopathy was not. Women were more prosocial than men, and there was no sex difference in the influence mechanism of CEU on PSB. Conclusion: This study has practical significance as it emphasizes the importance of shaping a stable childhood environment and that individuals' prosociality can be improved by intervening in the mediation.
... As stated by Kaufman et al. [1] "we all have, in us, both a light and a dark side". Accordingly, during the last decades, many researchers focused on the socalled "dark traits" as features strictly associated with individual's ethically, morally, and socially aversive beliefs and behaviors [2]. One of the most frequently investigated personality constructs is represented by the famous "Dark Triad" characterized by the following three core personality features: i.e. ...
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How many kinds of malevolent characters are out there? In line with Paulhus and Williams (2002) the answer is three, namely the Dark Triad of Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy. Dark traits (DT) are associated with emotional deficits, exploitation, immoral strategic thinking, and risky behaviors. All three traits have been largely investigated mainly during the last decades. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview about the available literature regarding the characteristics of personality traits associated with the DT, by focusing on the main consequences of the DT from a psychopathological and psychiatric perspective. Studies found a strong association between DT traits and several types of negative psychosocial outcomes such as substance use, sexual promiscuity, aggression, and crime. Nevertheless, there is specific literature showing the advantages of scoring high DT traits, for example the assumption of positions of authority over other people, and the expression of low levels of social anxiety. Although the literature mainly focuses on the consequences that DT traits may have for society in general, there is a lack of studies investigating the personal repercussions, in the psychopathological and/or psychiatric dimensions in those individuals scoring high DT traits. Therefore, further research is needed to clarify how the different personality dark traits may interact with each other and modulate not only the individual’s life choices but also how and whether DT traits may predispose or not to the onset of a specific psychiatric disorder.
... Unlike their clinical/forensic counterparts, these subclinical traits are also observed within non-clinical, non-forensic samples. Although dark triad traits have different conceptual origins, they are underpinned by a shared callousness and malevolence that encourages interpersonal manipulation (the Dark Core; Moshagen et al., 2018). For this reason, it is advised that these traits are examined jointly, to ensure reliable empirical associations (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). ...
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Previous research suggests that individuals with increased sadistic traits may seek out opportunities to exercise cruelty towards others. This study extends research which has examined the emotional processing of individuals with increased sadistic traits. Results showed that all dark traits were significantly correlated with experiencing positive emotion in response to violent stimuli. This study also examined the relationship between sadism and the temperamental traits of the behavioural inhibition and approach systems. Results suggest that sadism could be understood as a high-approach low-avoidance temperamental trait. A structural equation model predicting emotional processing was constructed; a direct pathway was found between sadism and positive emotional responding to violent stimuli and lack of negative emotion to violent stimuli, over and above latent dark tetrad antagonism. Dark tetrad traits were predictive of a deficit in BIS-Anxiety. Implications of these findings are discussed.
... Being a concise and reliable estimate of the DT, it has been translated to various languages and has been used in numerous empirical studies worldwide. As such, it has stimulated debates about the dark core of personality and its relations with fundamental personality traits (Hodson et al., 2018;Moshagen et al., 2018). However, divergent linear associations of narcissism with psychopathy and Machiavellianism questioned not only the antagonistic nature of narcissism but also the very concept of the DT Persson et al., 2019). ...
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