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IPFS News Link • Political Theory

Many Environmentalists Have Dark Personality Traits, Study Finds

•, by Selwyn Duke

That is, the "well-meaning" part.

This latest research was conducted in Germany and, focusing on environmental activists in particular, sought to discover if there was an association between their activism and the negative personality traits constituting the "dark triad" as well as those linked to left-wing authoritarianism. Published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the study was released almost exactly a year after similar research found that devoted leftists are often narcissists and sociopaths.

PsyPost reports on the story:

The motivation behind this study stemmed from an observation of the increasingly controversial tactics of environmental movements and a curiosity about the personalities driving these actions. It aimed to explore the potential "dark side" of environmental activism by examining the roles played by certain negative personality traits.

"I'm a professor of psychology and in my research program I investigate predictors of individual behavior related to environmental sustainability, especially in an organizational context," explained study author Hannes Zacher, a professor of work and organizational psychology at Leipzig University.

"Most previous research had looked at so-called 'bright side' personality traits, such as conscientiousness or openness to experience, in relation to environmental activism. Given controversial activities of environmental activists like 'Just Stop Oil' or, in Germany, 'Last Generation,' such as blocking roads or throwing paint at famous paintings, I wondered if there may also be a 'dark side' of environmental activism."

The dark triad of personality encompasses three distinct but interrelated traits known for their malevolent qualities: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. Each of these traits contributes to behaviors often deemed malicious.

Machiavellianism is identified by a cunning approach to social interactions, prioritizing self-advantage through deceit if necessary and harboring a cynical view of society. Narcissism is characterized by an excessive self-regard and a craving for admiration, often leading to entitlement and insensitivity towards others' feelings. Psychopathy is distinguished by an absence of empathy and remorse, impulsiveness, and antisocial conduct.

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