The Light Triad of Personality Traits

a basic white triangle
Image by rpablosxtec / CC BY

As I mentioned in an earlier installment of this series, researchers previously went to work to determine personality traits that could predispose individuals to difficult antisocial behavior. And in the process of this, they identified three culprits — Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy — a combination that they named “the dark triad.”

This research took place in the early 2000s, but many years would go by before there would be a study to explore what its counterpart would be, a light triad of personality traits.

But recently a group of researchers did just that. And in their work, they identified three traits that would predispose a human being towards positive prosocial behaviors and be correlated with overall greater life satisfaction:

  1. Kantianism
  2. Humanism
  3. Faith in humanity

Kantianism

Individuals high in Kantianism are likely to see people as people and not simply as means to an end and/or ways to get what they want out of a situation.

Humanism

A person high in humanism values other people’s dignity and worth.

Faith in Humanity

Just as the name would imply, a person with high faith in humanity tends to believe that overall people are basically good.

Curious About How You’d Score?

Researchers in this field are careful to make it clear that most individuals are a mix of light and dark — and just because a person is high in some negative triad traits, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t also be high in some positive triad traits (and vice versa).

Curious about how you’d score? Take the test online here.

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This post is part of an ongoing Poly Land feature called Psyched for the Weekend, in which I geek out with brief takes about some of my favorite psychological studies and concepts. For the entire series, please see this link.

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