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Challenging the notion that people with ‘dark personalities’ are more successful

| | April 1, 2019

The dark side of human personality has long fascinated the public and psychologists alike. Research has linked unpleasant traits such as selfishness and a lack of empathy to a higher income and better odds of landing a date.

But critics are starting to push back. In a new study, scientists argue such work is often superficial, statistically weak, and presents an overly simplistic view of human nature. Worse, they say it could have harmful implications in the real world by downplaying the damage dark personalities can cause.

The criticism focuses on research into the so-called dark triad of personalities. Two Canadian psychologists coined the term in 2002 to group together Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy: traits linked by callousness, manipulation, and a lack of empathy.

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Some studies have then tried to link a volunteer’s dark triad score with real-world metrics, such as salary, sexual behavior, and attitude toward co-workers.

“It’s potentially damaging when we start to glorify what are socially adverse behaviors and attitudes,” [professor Ernest] O’Boyle says. People who show psychopathic behavior, he adds, “are not people you want to helm a company.”

Read full, original post: Does a ‘dark triad’ of personality traits make you more successful?

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