In my last post, I talked about good liars and what sets them apart. As it turns out, today’s topic is going to continue our look at the darker side of human personality. Up for discussion today is the so-called “dark triad” of personality traits. These include: Narcissism: A tendency to take a grandiose view…

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Once a narcissist always a narcissist? That is, more or less, the question that researchers asked in a study that tracked people’s levels of narcissism from age 18 to 41. Although we sometimes talk about “narcissists” as if they’re a separate group of people, psychologists usually measure narcissism as a personality trait that everyone has…

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A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a study on how childhood experiences potentially give rise to a later tendency to be greedy. The gist of the study was that only children from wealthier families were greedier on average as teenagers but that socioeconomic status didn’t have any obvious effect on greed for children with…

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When a person has more of something, there’s always the risk that they’ll decide the reason they have more is because they deserve more. That’s the most self-serving interpretation, but then again, people are pretty good at coming up with self-serving interpretations. But does belonging to a higher social class necessarily mean having a greater…

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Being able to take a bad situation and turn it into something good is a valuable skill from a mental health standpoint. Perhaps there’s no greater test of this skill than being confronted with a situation that’s not just bad, but traumatic. Different people seem to respond to trauma in different ways. One aspect of…

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In the traditional telling of the story, procrastination is the arch-enemy of productivity. The more you procrastinate, the less you get done. But psychologists who study procrastination have questioned that narrative. A 2005 study proposed that there are two types of procrastinators: so-called active and passive procrastinators. Passive procrastinators are your typical procrastinators who struggle…

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Among the various types of data that are being collected about you while you browse the internet, you can bet that your spending habits are one of them. That raises the question of just how much someone knows about you when they have a record of your purchases. There are some obvious conclusions that can…

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When you were in middle school, you could probably name without having to think who the “class clown” was. If you’re a middle school teacher, bless your heart, you can probably do the same. It’s not hard to know who the class clown is, since they’re generally happy to draw attention to themselves. But figuring…

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Shoplifting is a behavior that, besides being ethically questionable, doesn’t seem like a very good risk-reward trade-off. Naturally, when psychologists see people engaged in that kind of activity, they ask: why? As it turns out, not everyone who shoplifts does so for the same reasons. A new study from researchers at University of Texas and…

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A compassionate disposition and a desire to see someone get their “just deserts” might not seem to go together. But a new study suggests that people who are more compassionate also prefer to see harsher punishments doled out when someone perpetrates an injustice against others. As part of the study, published in Journal of Personality…

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