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Individuals with dark traits have the ability but not the disposition to empathize
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology, Pedagogy and Sociology. University of Gothenburg,Department of Psychology, Sweden;University of Skövde, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Sweden .ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0629-353X
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology, Pedagogy and Sociology.
2020 (English)In: Personality and Individual Differences, ISSN 0191-8869, E-ISSN 1873-3549Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Empathy is fundamental to social cognition and societal values. Empathy is theorized as having both the ability as well as the disposition to imagine the content of other people’s minds. We tested whether the notorious low empathy in dark personalities (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism; the Dark Triad) is best characterized by a lack of capacity (ability) or lack of disposition (trait). Data was collected for 278 international participants through an anonymous online survey shared on the online platform LinkedIn, consisting of trait-based Dark Triad personality (SD3) and empathy (IRI), and cognitive ability (ICAR16) and ability-based empathy (MET). Dark personality traits had no relationship with ability-based empathy, but strongly so with trait-based empathy (β = -0.47). Instead, cognitive ability explained ability-based empathy (β = 0.31). The finding is that dark personalities in a community sample is normally cognizant to empathize but has a low disposition to do so. This finding may help shed further light on how personality is interlinked with ability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020.
Keywords [en]
Cognitive ability, Dark triad, Empathy, Personality
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-14745DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2019.109716OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-14745DiVA, id: diva2:1377096
Note

Available from: 2019-12-11 Created: 2019-12-11 Last updated: 2019-12-16Bibliographically approved

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Kajonius, Petri

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