A new study has warned why one needs to stay away from individuals or people with dark personality traits. According to a study of Chinese college students, people with more prominent dark personality traits show more evil inventiveness. The findings were reported in the Journal of Intelligence.
Creativity is defined as the ability to create unique and useful works. It is a characteristic that is responsible for the development of novel innovations, engineering achievements, as well as art, literature, and many other forms of human creation.
Creativity has long been regarded as a totally good trait that enhances people’s lives and promotes human civilization. But, there is a negative aspect to creativity. It’s known as malicious creativity. It refers to the ability to devise novel/original ways to intentionally harm or damage others.
For example, consider a terrorist who develops a new sort of bomb to more effectively slaughter people. Another example would be a torturer coming up with novel and surprising ways. That is, ways to inflict pain and suffering on his victims. Because creativity is, by definition, unique and thus unexpected, the results of evil creativity can likewise be unpredictable and extremely deadly.
The Dark Triad personality qualities are one collection of personality traits thought to be associated with a proclivity for malicious creativity. Machiavellianism (characterized by superficial charm, cynicism, coldness, manipulativeness, opportunism, belief that ends justify the means), narcissism (characterized by vanity, grandiosity, dominance, superiority, and entitlement), and psychopathy comprise the Dark Triad (characterized by thrill-seeking, aggressiveness, impulsivity, criminality, low fear and anxiety, callousness, and limited empathy). These three attributes’ assessments can also be merged to generate a single composite score.
Dark Triad, Personality Traits And Evil Creativity
Zhenni Gao, the study’s author, and colleagues wanted to see if there was a link between the Dark Triad personality qualities and evil creativity. They expected aggression and creativity to act as a buffer between malicious creativity and these personality traits.
They also believed that a person’s moral identity would influence how and whether their evil inventiveness manifested itself in behavior.
The study included 217 Chinese college students (166 females, 22 years old on average). The Malevolent Creativity Task, a collection of 20 open-ended realistic circumstances for which students were expected to find unique and malicious solutions (e.g., “Hong is going to battle with a great player in a tennis final, who is difficult to defeat. Please come up with a creative way for Hong to ‘accidentally’ hurt the opponent before the final.”)
Based on these responses, the study authors assessed each participant’s malevolent originality and harmfulness.
Malevolent creative behavioral tendencies (the Malevolent Creativity Behavior Scale, e.g., “When I am treated unfairly, I will retaliate in a different way”), general creative behavioral tendencies (the Runco Ideational Behavior Scale, e.g., “I have some ideas for new inventions”), aggression (the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire), Dark Triad traits expressed as a single joint composite score (the Dirty Dozen (the Moral Identity Measures).
Students with more unique malicious solutions to challenges developed more destructive solutions. Also, had more strong malevolent behavioral inclinations, according to the findings. Students with more unique malicious solutions exhibited more significant Dark Triad personality traits and were more violent.
Also, students who could imagine more detrimental hostile solutions exhibited more inventive behavioral tendencies. Greater levels of malicious behavior were associated with higher levels of creativity and violence.
Further Analysis on People With Dark Traits
Subsequent analysis revealed that males were better than females at devising novel malicious solutions. However, this difference vanished when malevolent behavioral patterns were taken into account. Students who were younger and more imaginative found more detrimental answers to challenges.
Subsequent analysis revealed that the relationship between the Dark Triad personality qualities and malicious behavioral tendencies may be achieved in part by their correlations with aggression and creative behavioral impulses. The relationship between malevolent behavioral tendencies and the originality of malicious solutions presented by students may be dependent on the person’s moral identity.
“People with higher degrees of Dark Triad personality traits tend to have higher levels of aggression and general creativity behavioral inclinations, which then further cultivate their malevolent creativity behavioral tendencies. “At the behavioral level, malevolent creativity’s behavioral inclinations may be closer to originality than malevolent ideation’s harmfulness,” the study authors found.
“The Dark Triad improves MCT originality [originality in the malevolent creativity task] through boosting malevolent creativity behavioral tendencies, but this mediation effect is only significant with low-to-medium moral identity. Based on the findings, building moral identity may be an effective method of preventing malevolent creativity.”
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Things to Keep in Mind
Individuals with dark traits have tendencies that are commonly perceived as bad or undesirable. This includes narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and sadism. These attributes are often referred to as the “dark triad” or the “dark tetrad” when sadism is included.
People with dark qualities are self-centered, manipulative, lack empathy, and are eager to abuse others for personal gain. They may also exhibit aggressive tendencies and a general disrespect for regulations and social standards.
While having these traits may appear to be a disadvantage, some research suggests that people with dark traits may be more successful in particular sectors, such as politics or business, where cutthroat techniques are appreciated. This is not to say that these characteristics are desirable or that they ensure success.
It is crucial to highlight that not all people with dark characteristics are dangerous or harmful. Many people may exhibit some of these characteristics to varying degrees without endangering others. Those with high or pathological amounts of these traits, on the other hand, may be more likely to engage in destructive or criminal activities.
However, this research sheds light on the psychological basis of evil creativity. It does, however, have restrictions that must be considered. Because the study was conducted on university students, the results obtained from participants from other demographics may differ. Furthermore, no cause-and-effect inferences are permitted by the study design.