“Dark” personality traits might be impeding pandemic efforts, but the overall picture is far more complex
Psychologists love fancy names, and the Dark Triad is no exception. The triad refers to the personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism (a psychological trait centered on interpersonal manipulation and moral indifference) and it’s a fitting description. Although it’s not as simple These are indeed dark, malevolent personality traits, what normal people would tend to call “not a nice person”. People scoring high on these traits tend to be less compassionate and empathetic, and as it turns out, also tend to care less about pandemic prevention.
In one of the studies, led by Magdalena Zemojtel-Piotrowska, the authors note that Dark Triad traits are associated with less prevention and more hoarding (remember the toilet paper hoarding from a few months ago?).
The team surveyed 755 individuals in Poland during the first stages of the pandemic and lockdown. The higher people scored on Dark Triad traits, the less likely they were to support prevention measures — which was exactly what researchers suspected.