People who signal virtue and victimhood are more likely to display dark personality traits, experts say.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered that “individuals with Dark Triad traits – Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy—more frequently signal virtuous victimhood.”
In another study, psychologists at the University of Durham revealed that women considered the same man as more appealing when he had dark triad traits.
Another exciting finding can be seen in the book “Tell Me What You Want” by psychologist Justin Lehmiller. The author explains that when it comes to superheroes, most women fantasized about Batman. He suggests that the reason behind this intriguing choice is Bruse Wayne’s higher score on dark triad traits.
Furthermore, researchers Carrie Haslam and V. Tamara Montrose observed that British females aged 18 to 28 are more attracted to narcissists than to ordinary partners. This could be explained by the fact that people with narcissistic personalities possess “qualities associated with status and resource provision.”
So, could “Dark” personalities be beneficial in certain settings?
As writer Rob Henderson notes, the Columbia experts claim that the Dark Triad – Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy, might be quite favorable for increasing one’s social status. For instance, they note that in modern Western societies, “victim signaling” can help the person “achieve their goals in situations that are responsive to their claims.”
As a credible explanation of this phenomenon, the researchers point out the ease of human suffering. In other words, signaling that you have less than others and that this makes your life incredibly difficult can be a beneficial strategy for obtaining material resources. However, it may work better if your words are genuine, and others perceive you as a trustworthy person.
Is there a strong interaction between Dark personalities and Victim & Virtue signaling?
While conducting the study, the scientists developed a Victim Signaling Scale. The participants were asked about how often they engage in certain activities, where 1 equals “not at all,” and 5 equals “always.” These include: “Disclosed that I don’t feel accepted in society because of my identity.” and “Expressed how people like me are underrepresented in the media and leadership.”
After counting the results, the researchers found out that Victim Signaling scores highly correlated with dark triad scores (r = .35).
Additionally, the respondents rated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements about Virtue Signaling. While answering questions about moral values, including justice, empathy, and honesty, they displayed that Virtue Signaling was also closely associated with dark triad scores (r = .18).
In a follow-up study, where they used a more vigorous dark triad scale, the researchers found a stronger correlation between the dark triad traits and victim signaling (r = .52). What is more, they discovered that victim signaling was also negatively correlated with Honesty-Humility (r = -.38). These findings indicate that “high victim signalers were less likely to endorse statements about acting honestly and showing humility.”
Can a simple coin flip game reveal Dark triad traits?
In order to make things more interesting, the examiners also had participants play a game. The rules were simple – it was a coin flip game, in which the players could win money if they won. However, the researchers rigged the game so that cheating would be quite easy. Therefore, participants could claim they won even if they didn’t, and get more money.
The simple game revealed that those who signaled victimhood were more likely to cheat.
Overall, the people who scored higher on dark triad traits were more likely to be victim signalers. Plus, they might be more likely to deceive others for their own benefit.
Are victim signalers more likely to overstate others’ negative traits to obtain personal advantage?
During another stage of the study, the participants were told to imagine they were competing with another intern for the same job position. The researchers explained:
“You keep noticing little things about the way the intern talks to you. You get the feeling the other intern may have no respect for your suggestions at all. To your face, the intern is friendly, but something feels off to you.”
The results of this particular part of the research showed that victim signalers were more likely to exaggerate the negative qualities of their competitors. Their answers revealed that they are prone to agree that the intern “Made demeaning or derogatory remarks,” or “Put you down in front of coworkers,” even though the description of their competitor did not indicate such behavior.
While real victims do exist, and they have no intention of deceiving others, there are social predators who take advantage of victimhood. These highly immoral beings are capable of adapting to any situation in order to make sure they would gain benefits in the form of material resources, social status, or even sexual relationships.
Hopefully, now that you have learned about the corelation between dark personalities and victimhood signaling, you will be able to easier detect whether you’re dealing with a genuine or a dishonest person.