Psychopathy is a real mental health issue that often goes unnoticed by people, meaning you could be living alongside or with a psychopath without even knowing it. So how do you tell a psychopath from an average Joe? Well, according to a new study, it can be helpful to see what they studied in college; psychopaths are more likely to take business courses.
The study, published online in Personality and individual differences, found that people with dark triad traits (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) are more likely to have studied business and economics. These results show that your personality, in particular having a “dark” personality, can influence your school choices.
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The results are based on responses from over 400 Danish students who took a personality test while providing information about their academic choices. According The Indy 100the study was specifically carried out before the students started their studies, so that the differences in personality cannot be attributed to the socialization effect of the course, but rather give a real insight into the link between the choice of courses and the personality.
In other words, they wanted to see what personalities were originally attracted to these topics, not what effects the topics had on an individual’s personality. On the other hand, students who studied psychology scored relatively lower on the dark personality scale.
A dark triad personality includes psychopathy, a disorder on the spectrum that describes a lack of empathy, as well as a grandiose sense of self-worth associated with a lust for power, psychology today reported. Although this may seem like a less than desirable personality, it can benefit some people. For example, one study found that those with the dark triad personality did better in speed dating settings. Results of a study based on 90 participants found that those with Dark Triad personalities were more likely to leave an impression on their date in a short time. According to the study authors, this may be because individuals with dark triad personalities have different motives and motivations when it comes to their mating techniques.
“Dark triad traits are related to the pursuit of short-term mating strategies, but they may have differential effects on actual mating success in naturalistic scenarios,” said Emanuel Jauk, corresponding author of the study. PsyPost.
Additionally, certain perfectionism traits are also closely linked to individuals with Dark Triad personalities. According to a University of Kent study, “other-oriented” perfectionists, or those who want others to meet incredibly high standards and become critical when others fail to meet their expectations, also tend to have other Dark Triad personalities such as narcissism and antisocial behavior.
Source: Vedel A, Thomsen DK. The dark triad across academic majors. Personality and individual differences . 2017
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