A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Current Psychology has shed light on an intriguing connection between dark personality traits and left-wing aggression. The research, conducted by Dr. Ann Krispenz and Dr. Alexander Bertrams from the University of Bern in Switzerland, explores the motives behind individuals endorsing aggressive left-wing political and social activities. The study suggests that certain individuals with narcissistic or psychopathic tendencies are attracted to such activism as a means to fulfill their ego-focused needs, rather than genuine aspirations for social justice.
The study introduces the concept of the “dark-ego-vehicle principle.” According to this principle, individuals with dark personality traits, such as high narcissism and psychopathy, are drawn to specific forms of political and social activism that serve as a vehicle for satisfying their own ego-focused desires. These individuals may utilize these activities as opportunities for self-presentation, displays of moral superiority, gaining social status, dominating others, and engaging in social conflicts and aggression to fulfill their need for excitement and thrill.
The researchers conducted two studies to investigate the endorsement of anti-hierarchical aggression to overthrow those in power and its association with dark personality traits. Both studies found a correlation between individuals endorsing such aggression and possessing narcissistic and psychopathic attributes. The authors caution that their findings do not imply that all individuals with left-wing political views exhibit these dark traits. However, the research highlights the presence of a subset of individuals who exploit certain forms of activism for their own ego-driven motives.
The authors aimed to delve into the psychological factors underlying left-wing authoritarianism, as this area has received limited attention compared to right-wing authoritarianism. Left-wing authoritarianism, as defined in the study, involves three components: anti-hierarchical aggression, anti-conventionalism, and top-down censorship. The researchers utilized a newly developed measure for left-wing authoritarianism to assess participants’ tendencies.
While the study sheds light on a specific aspect of left-wing activism, it is crucial to acknowledge that authoritarianism can manifest across the political spectrum. The research does not claim that all left-wing activists possess dark personality traits, nor does it imply that right-wing activists are exempt from similar tendencies. It serves as a reminder that personality traits can intersect with political ideologies, leading to unique manifestations in different individuals.
more on site…