What is evil, anyway? Can you define it? Can you define normal and good, too?
Scientists have been working hard lately to isolate exactly the traits that make a person evil. They’ve come up with nine. Universally, they called them The D factor or The Dark Core of Personality.
This is what they write in Scientific American about the D-Factor
We all know people who consistently display ethically, morally, and socially questionable behavior in everyday life. Personality psychologists refer to these characteristics among a subclinical population as “dark traits.” An understanding of dark traits has become increasingly popular not only in psychology, but also in criminology and behavioral economics.https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-dark-core-of-personality/
Even though psychologists have studied various dark traits, it has become increasingly clear that these dark traits are related to each other. This raises the question: Is there a unifying theme among dark traits?
The 9 traits of malevolence
These are the 9 traits comprising the D-factor, along with the definitions used by the scientists:
1. Egoism: “the excessive concern with one’s own pleasure or advantage at the expense of community well-being.”
2. Machiavellianism: “manipulativeness, callous affect, and a strategic-calculating orientation.”
3. Moral disengagement: “a generalized cognitive orientation to the world that differentiates individuals’ thinking in a way that powerfully affects unethical behavior.”
4. Narcissism: “ego-reinforcement is the all-consuming motive.”
5. Psychological entitlement: “a stable and pervasive sense that one deserves more and is entitled to more than others.”
6. Psychopathy: “deficits in affection (i.e., callousness) and self-control (i.e., impulsivity).”
7. Sadism: “a person who humiliates others, shows a longstanding pattern of cruel or demeaning behavior to others, or intentionally inflicts physical, sexual, or psychological pain or suffering on others in order to assert power and dominance or for pleasure and enjoyment.”
8. Self-interest: “the pursuit of gains in socially valued domains, including material goods, social status, recognition, academic or occupational achievement, and happiness.”
9. Spitefulness: “a preference that would harm another but that would also entail harm to oneself. This harm could be social, financial, physical, or inconvenience.”
Now you have it. The formal definition of evil.
Do you think you have some of these? Or maybe, someone you know? A close relative, perhaps? Your mother-in-law?
Post in the comments now.