“Dark” Personalities More Likely To Appear As Victims
A recent study headed by Ekin Ok at the University of British Columbia discovered that people who tend to virtue-signal and act as victims are more likely to exhibit dark triad personality characteristics.
The dark triad is made up of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Those who exhibit such traits are often experts at seducing others.
A fresh study conducted by psychologists at the University of Durham found evidence that women rated the same man as more appealing when he exhibited dark triad characteristics. This type of man was found to be around one standard deviation more appealing than other men.
In his book ‘Tell Me What You Want,’ psychologist Justin Lehmiller notes that the most highly-regarded superhero among females is Batman. Contrastingly, gay men found Captain America and Superman to be more appealing. One explanation as to why women are more drawn to Batman is because he would naturally have a higher score of dark triad characteristics in comparison to other superheroes.
Another research conducted by V. Tamara Montrose and Carrie Haslam discovered that even though narcissist men make for poor partners, females aged between 18 to 28 are more drawn to them than to others.
The experts asked women about their experiences in dating and their desire for marriage. They wanted to find out whether dark triad factors influenced the women’s attraction to narcissists. They discovered that younger women with more experience in dating and a higher desire for marriage found narcissists to be more attractive.
They wrote the following:
“Despite future long-term mating desires which are unlikely to be achieved with a narcissistic male and possession of substantial mate sampling experience, females view the narcissistic male as a suitable partner.”
This shows that in some cases, dark triad characteristics can be advantageous for men.
In their latest study, Signaling Virtuous Victimhood as Indicators of Dark Triad Personalities, the researchers found that Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy might be of use when it comes to obtaining resources.
In their paper, they stress that being viewed as a victim can result in a loss of confidence and respect. However, they go on to explain that in today’s West, being a victim does not always lead to undesirable outcomes.
Often, being viewed as a victim can increase a person’s social status and they can even receive material goods as a result.
The researchers are of the mind that “contemporary Western democracies have become particularly hospitable environments for victim signalers to execute a strategy of nonreciprocal resource extraction.”
One of the reasons is that egalitarian values lead a lot of people in the West to believe that any differences in outcomes are illegitimate.
Another reason is that one of people’s main values has become lifting humankind out of poverty and suffering. Saying that you have less than others and that you are suffering for it, can be a sneaky way to obtain material goods.
The experts analyze victim signaling, which they categorize as
“a public and intentional expression of one’s disadvantages, suffering, oppression, or personal limitations.”
In addition, they look deeply into virtue signaling, defined as
“symbolic demonstrations that can lead observers to make favorable inferences about the signaler’s moral character.”
According to them virtue-signaling and claiming victimhood status can maximize a person’s chances to obtain resources. This plays on people’s natural reaction to be sympathetic towards a victim and see him or her as a good person.
The team came up with a Victim Signaling Scale, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (always).
It asks people how often they take part in certain activities. 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.”
What they discovered is that Victim Signaling scores strongly correlated with dark triad scores. In this study, the researchers controlled for gender, ethnicity, income, and other factors that can make people vulnerable to unfair treatment.
Those who took part also filled out a questionnaire that measured Virtue Signaling. The team rated the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements about moral traits such as fairness, honesty, and compassion.
A sample statement goes as follows:
“I often buy products that communicate the fact that I have these characteristics.”
In addition, they found that Virtue Signaling had a strong link to high dark triad scores.
In a follow-up study where they used a different dark triad scale, they found an even stronger correlation between the dark triad traits and victim signaling.
Also, they found that virtue-signaling negatively correlated with honesty and humility. This suggests that virtue signalers may be greedier and less honest than people who do not like signaling victimhood.
Participants were then asked to play a coin flip game where they could win cash prizes if they won. The research team rigged the game so that subjects could cheat with ease. They could claim they won even if they clearly did not, and hence get more cash.
People who tend to virtue-signal had a higher likelihood of cheating in the game.
The team once again found that these results came after they controlled for gender, ethnicity, and income among other factors.
Those who received higher scores on dark triad characteristics were more likely to virtue signal regardless of personal characteristics. They are also more likely to deceive others to gain material resources.
Later, the team conducted another study in order to test whether those who score higher on victim signaling were more likely to exaggerate reports of mistreatment from a co-worker to gain the upper hand.
Subjects were told to imagine they worked closely with another intern, and that they were both in a race for the same job.
They were told the following:
“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.”
Afterward, people engaged in an evaluation of the intern, and then they completed the Victim Signaling scale test.
Virtue-signalers were much more likely to exaggerate the negative qualities of the person they were competing against.
The participants were more likely to agree that the one they competed against,
“Made demeaning or derogatory remarks,” or “Put you down in front of coworkers.”
There wasn’t anything in the description of the other intern that indicated they truly acted this way. However, victim status claimers were more likely to report that they did.
As the team of researchers stress, real victims do exist, but they rarely use their misfortune to take advantage of others.
Sadly, walking among victims, there are many social predators in the world. And whatever circumstances they may find themselves in, they will do anything they can to take advantage of the kindness of others in order to gain wealth, sex, or status.
People who exhibit dark triad characteristics will adjust their game to get whatever benefits they can, depending on their social environment.
Nowadays, these individuals might find that the safest way to fish for rewards is to make a public spectacle of their virtue and victimhood.
What are your thoughts on these intriguing findings? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it of value.