Your Dark Core Score

New research conducted by a team from Germany and Denmark suggests that a General Dark Factor of Personality (D-factor) exists among the human population, and that this factor conforms to the principle of indifference of the Malevolence indicator.

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.

Across four studies, the researchers found support for the existence of their proposed D-factor. To capture a reasonable D-factor, they administered nine different tests measuring a particular dark trait that has been well studied in the psychological literature. These are the nine traits that comprised their D-factor:

  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 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. An all-consuming motive for ego reinforcement.
  5. Psychological Entitlement. A stable and pervasive sense that one deserves more and is entitled to more than others.
  6. Psychopathy. Deficits in affect, callousness, self-control and impulsivity.
  7. Sadism. Intentionally inflicting 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 an inconvenience.

If you've made it this far, you're probably eager to see whether you score high on the D-factor. This nine-item test should be sufficient to estimate to a reasonable degree where you would score on the D-factor. The more you are in strong agreement with multiple items on this scale, the higher the likelihood you would score high on the D-factor. If you are in strong agreement with just one item on this scale, I wouldn't be so confident that you would score high on the D-factor. However, if you are in extremely strong agreement on many of these items, there's a high likelihood that you would indeed score high on the D-factor (ie, you're a humongous asshole, objectively measured):

The Dark Core Scale

1. It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there.

2. I like to use clever manipulation to get my way.

3. People who get mistreated have usually done something to bring it on themselves.

4. I know that I am special because everyone keeps telling me so.

5. I honestly feel I'm just more deserving than others.

6. I'll say anything to get what I want.

7. Hurting people would be exciting.

8. I try to make sure others know about my successes.

9. It is sometimes worth a little suffering on my part to see others receive the punishment they deserve.


 It said I am less of an asshole than the average person. Hmm....