Posted in Machiavellianism, Malignant Narcissism, Narcissism, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS

Personality and perceptions of the COVID-19 situation

Individual differences in the Big Five traits were measured with the Polish version (Topolewska, Skimina, Strus, Cieciuch, & Rowiński, 2014) of the 20-item International Personality Item Pool (Donnellan, Oswald, Baird, & Lucas, 2006), with four items per trait: Openness/Intellect (e.g., “I have a vivid imagination.”), Conscientiousness (e.g., “I get chores done right away.”), Extraversion (e.g., “I am the life of the party.”), Agreeableness (e.g., “I sympathize with others’ feelings.”), Neuroticism (e.g., “I get upset easily.”) where participants were asked their agreement (1 = strongly disagree5 = strongly agree). Items were averaged to create indexes of each trait.

Psychopathy was measured with the Polish version (see Rogoza & Cieciuch, 2019) of the Levenson’s Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (Levenson, Kiehl, & Fitzpatrick, 1995). The scale has 17 items (i.e., Factor 1) measuring individual differences in callous, manipulative and selfish use of others (e.g., “For me, what’s right is whatever I can go away with.”) and 10 (i.e., Factor 2) measuring impulsivity and limited behavioral control (e.g., “I find myself in the same kinds of trouble, time after time.”). Participants were asked their agreement (1 = strongly disagree; 4 = strongly agree) with the items which were averaged to create indexes of both factors.

Machiavellianism was measured with the Polish version (Pospiszyl, 2000) of the 20-item MACH-IV (Christie & Geis, 1970), where participants were asked how much they agreed (1 = strongly disagree; 7 = strongly agree) with statements such as: “It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there” and “People suffering from incurable diseases should have the choice of being put painlessly to death.” The items were averaged to create a Machiavellianism index.

Narcissism was measured with the Polish version (Rogoza, Rogoza, & Wyszyńska, 2016) of the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire (Back et al., 2013). The scale has nine items measuring individual differences in admiration (e.g., “I show others how special I am.”) and nine measuring rivalry (e.g., “I secretly take pleasure in the failure of my rivals.”) where participants were asked their agreement (1 = disagree completely; 6 = agree completely). Items were averaged to create indexes of each aspect.

Individual differences in the perceptions of the COVID-19 situation were measured with the S8* scale with all 40 items (Rauthman & Sherman, 2016). The scale was translated into Polish by three independent experts and then back-translated into English. The scale has five items for each of the eight dimensions: Duty (e.g., “A job needs to be done.”), Intellect (e.g., “Situation includes intellectual or cognitive stimuli.”), Adversity (e.g., “I am being blamed for something.”), Mating (e.g., “Potential sexual or romantic partners are present.”), pOsitivity (e.g., “The situation is pleasant.”), Negativity (e.g., “The situation could elicit stress.”), Deception(e.g., “It is possible to deceive someone.”), and Sociality (e.g., “Social interaction is possible.”). Participants were asked how much each statement applied (1 = not at all; 7 = totally) to the COVID-19 pandemic. Items were averaged to create indexes of each aspect.

Individual differences in compliance with governmental restrictions to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus were measured with a single item (in Polish). Participants reported the percent (1−100) to which they complied with the restrictions implemented by the Polish government.

Posted in Alienation, Dark Triad, Machiavellianism, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS, Sociopath

The Lucifer Effect

There are seven social processes that grease “the slippery slope of evil”:[19]

  • Mindlessly taking the first small step
  • Dehumanization of others
  • De-individuation of self (anonymity)
  • Diffusion of personal responsibility
  • Blind obedience to authority
  • Uncritical conformity to group norms
  • Passive tolerance of evil through inaction or indifference

Continue reading “The Lucifer Effect”

Posted in Adultification, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dark Triad, Empath, Enabler, Machiavellianism, Oedipus Complex, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Projection, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS

Types of Personality Disorders

DSM-5 groups the 10 types of personality disorders into 3 clusters (A, B, and C), based on similar characteristics. However, the clinical usefulness of these clusters has not been established.

Cluster A is characterized by appearing odd or eccentric. It includes the following personality disorders with their distinguishing features:

Overview of Cluster A Personality Disorders

Cluster B is characterized by appearing dramatic, emotional, or erratic. It includes the following personality disorders with their distinguishing features:

  • Antisocial: Social irresponsibility, disregard for others, deceitfulness, and manipulation of others for personal gain

  • Borderline: Intolerance of being alone and emotional dysregulation

  • Histrionic: Attention seeking

  • Narcissistic: Underlying dysregulated, fragile self-esteem and overt grandiosity

Overview of Cluster B Personality Disorders

Cluster C is characterized by appearing anxious or fearful. It includes the following personality disorders with their distinguishing features:

  • Avoidant: Avoidance of interpersonal contact due to rejection sensitivity

  • Dependent: Submissiveness and a need to be taken care of

  • Obsessive-compulsive: Perfectionism, rigidity, and obstinacy

Overview of Cluster C Personality Disorders

Symptoms and Signs

According to DSM-5, personality disorders are primarily problems with

  • Self-identity

  • Interpersonal functioning

Self-identity problems may manifest as an unstable self-image (eg, people fluctuate between seeing themselves as kind or cruel) or as inconsistencies in values, goals, and appearance (eg, people are deeply religious while in church but profane and disrespectful elsewhere).

Interpersonal functioning problems typically manifest as failing to develop or sustain close relationships and/or being insensitive to others (eg, unable to empathize).

People with personality disorders often seem inconsistent, confusing, and frustrating to people around them (including clinicians). These people may have difficulty knowing the boundaries between themselves and others. Their self-esteem may be inappropriately high or low. They may have inconsistent, detached, overemotional, abusive, or irresponsible styles of parenting, which can lead to physical and mental problems in their spouse or children.

People with personality disorders may not recognize that they have problems.

Continue reading “Types of Personality Disorders”

Posted in Alienation, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dark Triad, Histrionic Personality, Machiavellianism, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Positive and Negative Psychosocial Outcomes of the “Dark” Personality Traits

The term dark personalities refer to a set of socially aversive traits (such as spitefulness, greed, sadism, narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) in the subclinical range. First coined by Paulhus and Williams, it has attracted an exponential increase of empirical attention in recent years. Much of the research in the last decade has linked these dark traits to negative psychosocial outcomes, such as delinquency, unethical work-place behaviors, and mental illness. Nevertheless, the dark personalities vary along a continuum of well-being and adjustment, with some (e.g. narcissism) showing more positive associations with mental health and well-being than others.

The dark personalities have been associated with some of humanity’s greatest vices and also humanity’s key virtues. After a decade of research into the positive and negative outcomes of dark personality traits, there is a need for studies to examine the mediational mechanisms that may explain the relationship between the dark personality traits and those outcomes. Moreover, as people from different cultures live their lives differently, practice different customs, have different child-rearing practices, and so on, it is also important to examine how culture exerts its influence on these traits. Are there any cultural differences that may affect how people see a trait as “dark”? Are there any culture-specific dark personality traits? What are the culturally specific factors related to positive and negative outcomes of dark traits? How do these traits manifest themselves in various cultures and languages?

In this Research Topic, we welcome articles which enhance our understanding of the structure of the dark triad/tetrad of personality, the processes which cause these traits to emerge, their positive and negative outcomes in every aspect of life including, but not limited, to health, education, family, work, economy, politics, morality, and religion. We invite papers that focus on cross-cultural design, interaction effects and mediational mechanisms underlying the links between dark traits and other variables. Continue reading “Positive and Negative Psychosocial Outcomes of the “Dark” Personality Traits”

Posted in Alienation, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dark Triad, DESTRUCTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER, Histrionic Personality, Machiavellianism, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Psychopath, Psychopathic style, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS

The Malevolent Side of Human Nature : A Meta-Analysis and Critical Review of the Literature on the Dark Triad ( Narcissism , Machiavellianism , and Psychopathy )

The term dark triad refers to the constellation of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Over the past few years, the concept has gained momentum, with many researchers assuming that the dark triad is a prominent antecedent of transgressive and norm-violating behavior. Our purpose in this meta-analytic review was to evaluate
(a) interrelations among narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy;
(b) gender differences in these traits;
(c) how these traits are linked to normal personality factors; and
(d) the psychosocial correlates of the dark triad.
Our findings show that dark triad traits are substantially intercorrelated, somewhat more prevalent among men than women, predominantly related to the Big Five personality factor of agreeableness and the HEXACO factor of honesty-humility, and generally associated with various types of negative psychosocial outcomes. We question whether dark triad traits are sufficiently distinct and argue that the way they are currently measured is too simple to capture the malevolent sides of personality. Because most research in this domain is cross-sectional and based on self-reports, we recommend using a cross-informant approach and prospective, longitudinal research designs for studying the predictive value of dark triad features.

Continue reading “The Malevolent Side of Human Nature : A Meta-Analysis and Critical Review of the Literature on the Dark Triad ( Narcissism , Machiavellianism , and Psychopathy )”

Posted in Alienation, Dark Triad, Machiavellianism, PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Psychology of the Con


Each of these con artists have one thing in common: the power of persuasion to swindle their victims. The successful ones exhibit three similar characteristics—psychopathynarcissism and Machiavellianism—which have been referred to by psychologists as “dark” personality traits.

Those characteristics allow con artists to swindle people out of their money without feeling any remorse or guilt. Another thing most chiselers have in common are their egos. These extortion sales people boost the psyche of the perpetrators and make them feel even more confident, thus the description of the con has been termed as a confidence game.

Because cons often change their identities as part of their game, it can be pesky for law enforcement to catch them. Also, police may not even go after them when the crime has to do with bilking property and even money from their marks. Continue reading “Psychology of the Con”

Posted in Alienation, Dark Triad, Machiavellianism, PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Con Artists -A Harvard Psychologist Says to Look for These Traits

Konnikova says all con artists share some mixture of three traits: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. Only two to three percent of the population are truly psychopaths by the psychologist’s estimation, which still seems insanely (no pun intended) high to me. I would have thought maybe a half-percent, but maybe I’m crazy (pun intended).


Narcissism is far more common because it’s how shysters are able to justify the crappy things they do. They feel entitled to what they can scam away from others because they feel they deserve it more than the victims. This warped thinking allows them to take sympathy out of the equation.

But it also helps you to spot the con artist. Be aware when you’re talking to someone who has an inflated sense of importance about themselves or their topic and who is showing little empathy and poor listening skills. Another tell is if they’re too aggressive in expecting compliance to their wishes.


Machiavellianism is being able to persuade someone to do what you want them to do without their being aware of it. They think it’s their own idea. This is a key skill for the con artist. You can increase your chances of spotting this by being aware of anytime you’re in a one-to-one situation with a stranger and you find yourself all too easily being influenced. Especially when you’re buying into a story built on hope, as that’s what con artists prey upon most.


So now we know the job requirements for a scammer and can spot them a bit easier. But remember, these are deviants who are good at being devious so it takes more to keep them from plying their trade. Harvard psychology comes to the rescue once again:

Continue reading “Con Artists -A Harvard Psychologist Says to Look for These Traits”

Posted in Dark Triad, Machiavellianism, PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Introduction to the Dark Triad

The research on the Dark Triad has grown exponentially in the past few decades, with much of the literature focusing on establishing the profiles of socially aversive personalities. Studies investigating the Dark Triad within the nomological network with other personality traits have suggested that all the three relate to low honesty and low agreeableness. This suggests that the core of the Dark Triad lies in dishonestly, coldness, and manipulation. Narcissism seems to be “brightest” of the dark traits, with extraverted approach-oriented attitude to life. Research has suggested that especially psychopathy relates to low empathy and emotional intelligence, which could facilitate exploitation of others. Psychopathy and narcissism relate to higher risk-taking and impulsivity, whereas individuals high in Machiavellianism have a more cautious approach to life.

The exploitative, selfish nature of those high in the Dark Triad has led to theories trying to explain the existence of these traits from evolutionary perspective. Some of the most commonly applied theories are the LHT, which posits that these traits are adaptive in the context of fast strategies, prioritizing mating over parenting. The Dark Triad traits could also facilitate a Cheater strategy, which could be adaptive in extracting resources from the environment by the means of using others.

Despite thousands of publications in the past few decades, there are still many gaps in the literature, some of which will be identified in the following chapters. Although there is a wealth of good-quality research attempting to improve our understanding of socially aversive personalities, the literature suffers from several shortcomings which should be addressed in future studies (see Table 1.1). The following chapters present a summary of the literature so far, exploring the Dark Triad in the framework of clinical (Chapter 2) and forensic (Chapter 3) psychology, within mating (Chapter 4) and friendship (Chapter 5) literature, as well as in the realms of workplace (Chapter 6) and the cyberworld (Chapter 7) behaviors. Continue reading “Introduction to the Dark Triad”

Posted in Alienation, Dark Triad, Machiavellianism, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Psychopath, PSYCHOPATHIC TRAITS

The dark triad (DT) traits–psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism

The Dark Triad

Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy were measured using the 27-item Dark Triad of Personality Scale [D3-Short; (17)], scored on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree). Mean scores are calculated for the three subscales (9 items each) with higher scores indicating higher level of DT traits. The SD3 is a reliable measure with Cronbach’s alphas ranging from 0.77 to 0.80, and respective associations with standard measures of psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism (13).


Empathy was measured using the Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy [QCAE; (40)] comprising 31 items in total scored on a 4-point Likert scale (1 = strongly agree to 4 = strongly disagree). Cognitive empathy consists of two facets: (1) perspective taking (PT; 10 items)–understanding internal mental states of others; and (2) online simulation (OS; 9 items)–understanding another’s perspective by imagining what they are feeling. Affective empathy splits into three facets: (1) emotional contagion (EC; 4 items)–automatic copying of another’s emotions, (2) proximal responsivity (ProR; 4 items)–response to emotional cues of others, and (3) peripheral responsivity (PerR; 4 items)–response to emotional cues in immersive settings. Cronbach’s alphas range from 0.65 to 0.85. Scale scores were calculated by summing respective items.

Indirect Relational Aggression

Indirect relational aggression was measured using the Indirect Aggression Scale – Aggressor version [IAS-A; (28)]. The 25-item IAS-A consists of three subscales: Social Exclusion (SE; 10 items); Malicious Humor (MH; 9 items) and Guilt Induction (GI; 6 items). Participants indicate to what extent they had behaved aggressively during the last 12 months on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = never to 5 = regularly). Mean scores were obtained for each subscale. Cronbach’s alphas range from 0.81 to 0.84.

Statistical Analyses

Preliminary analyses revealed that several variables were skewed2; however, maximum likelihood estimators can provide estimates that are robust to non-normality (45). To gain a clearer understanding of how empathy relates to indirect aggression, the first step of analysis regressed all three IRA outcome variables on the five empathy variables. Following this, three main path models were specified from zero-order correlations and estimated using maximum likelihood in order to assess the fit of the different DT conceptualizations, and examine the relationships between the DT traits, empathy and indirect aggression factors. The first model assessed the unique contribution of the DT traits as monads, whereby the DT traits (Machiavellianism [M], psychopathy [P] and narcissism [N]) were separate observed variables and specified as correlated in order to account for their shared variance. The other two models assessed shared dark core contributions. The dark dyad model tested a latent variable with Machiavellianism and psychopathy as indicators, and narcissism as separate observed variable3, the dark triad model tested a latent variable with all three DT traits as indicator variables. Direct paths were specified from the DT traits compositions to IRA variables (with and without direct paths between Narcissism and IRA, and from the DT traits compositions to cognitive (PT and OS) and affective empathy variables (EC, ProR, PerR). Pathways were tested relating to the significant paths from the empathy variable/s (based on the regression results) to the IRA outcome variables (SE, MH, GI). Furthermore, empathy subscale scores were correlated with one another. Indirect effects were examined where applicable.

All analyses were undertaken in Muthén and Muthén (47) and if not stated otherwise, estimates reported are based on STDYX standardization. Model fit was deemed adequate with a non-significant chi-square value (taking sample size considerations into account), a root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) below 0.05, a standardized root mean square residual (SRMR) below 1, and comparative fit (CFI) and Tucker-Lewis indices (TLI) above 0.90 (48).


Descriptive Statistics

Mean, standard deviations and Cronbach’s alphas for the DT traits, cognitive and affective facets of empathy and IRA are displayed in Table 1. All variables show good reliability with alphas ranging between 0.74 and 0.92.Empathy at the Heart of Darkness: Empathy Deficits That Bind the

Continue reading “The dark triad (DT) traits–psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism”

Posted in Alienation, Dark Triad, Machiavellianism, PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Machiavellianism, Normal Personality Traits, and Personality Functioning

Machiavellianism is a personality trait characterized by interpersonal manipulation, cynical attitudes, and utilitarian morality (). With regard to normal personality traits [i.e., traits in the Big Five () and HEXACO () models], Machiavellianism is consequently linked to low levels of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and honesty-humility (). Some of the studies found Machiavellianism to be positively correlated with neuroticism as well (), whereas other studies reported no significant correlation between Machiavellianism and neuroticism ().

Considering the psychological maturity and differentiation of individuals with pronounced Machiavellian tendencies,  reported that Machiavellianism was associated with personality dysfunction in general and with the “dramatic” and “odd” clusters of personality disorders in specific. In this study by , Borderline Personality Disorder proved to be the best predictor of Machiavellianism among the DSM-IV () personality disorders. This result was further confirmed from a psychodynamic approach by  who found that Machiavellianism was predicted by Borderline Personality Organization as described by . Continue reading “Machiavellianism, Normal Personality Traits, and Personality Functioning”