“Dark Factor” decrypted: connecting narcissists, psychopaths, and sadists

The Evil in man has many facets, but a common core. These “dark factor” of negative Personality traits has defined a psychological Team for the first time. In the assessment of offenders, but also in the personnel office, the discovery could be in the future.

Psychologists from Ulm, Landau, and Copenhagen have shown that narcissists, psychopaths, and sadists have more in common than separates them. The researchers to demonstrate that the negative character traits are attributed to the “dark factor” (D-factor) of the personality.

Approach way to have every person have a dark side, explains study leader Morten Moshagen, University of Ulm to FOCUS Online: “But as emotionality or empathy, are differently pronounced, is also with the negative characteristics of the personality.” Generally speaking, 95 percent of the people were very friendly, maybe five percent, but would have a strong D-factor.

Extreme selfishness as the Basis of the dark personality

Moshagen and his Co-researchers Benjamin Hilbig of the University of Koblenz-Landau Ingo Zettler, University of Copenhagen, interested for your study especially these negative features in its extreme expression. The results are published in the journal Psychological Review.

“The core of the D-factor, an exaggerated egoism, without any consideration for others. These Beliefs, which prevent feelings of guilt, remorse, and moral scruples, to come Moshagen, the head of the Department of psychological research methods the University of Ulm explained.

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Narcissists also tend to be psychopathic personality

In their analysis, the three scientists have examined nine character traits: selfishness, meanness, Machiavellianism, moral disinhibition, narcissism, psychopathy, sadism, self-righteousness and exaggerated claim in question related to think.

The researchers found that, for example, people with high narcissism, a tendency that is likely to also show a pronounced Machiavellian and psychopathic Personality traits. In addition, the probability is for people with a strong D-factor is high, to be criminal, or violent, or in breach of generally against social rules.

Dark Factor to the analysis of offenders and management personnel

The D-factor the researchers call a good indicator for the prediction of selfish, dishonest and reckless behavior. “At the Moment, the knowledge about the D-factor is still basic science,” says Morten Moshagen. “But in the medium term, you are probably in forensics in a very practical, e.g. for the assessment of the recidivism risk of an offender.”

The psychologist holds to the consideration of the D-factor in the future for the selection of Job applicants for possible. “Assertiveness without much consideration for some of the Position requirements profile,” says Moshagen.

The dictator game reveals the degree of selfishness

For your Definition of the “D-factor” of the respondents, the researchers are 2500 adults who should represent a balanced cross-section of the population. The starting point of the four-part investigation was a comprehensive catalogue of questions to the individual Personality traits in a structured way.

Thereafter, the subjects completed behavioral experiments, such as the so-called dictator game, in which the participants can distribute the money to itself and unknown to other players. The results of this Psycho-game are considered to be a measure of selfish or altruistic behavior.

In a further distribution of the experiment, the participants had the opportunity to achieve through active lies additional Profit. The scientific meaning of this game: problematic behaviors such as selfishness and dishonesty.

Who does the cleaning staff down, cheating on his wife

A high Dark-factor can, in various problematic behaviors and personalities to Express. The Ulm-based psychologist Moshagen gives a practical example: “to put it bluntly, you could say that if a head dressing with relish his staff down, the probability is high that he takes advantage of his business partners, taxes, or cheated on his wife.”

Moshagens tip for the day-to-day dealing with D-factor-types: “Sometimes it helps to confront ruthless egoists or narcissists with their behavior. You hold, in fact, often much nicer than you are.“ Basically change such a man can not, rather, personality traits are very stable.