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Sociopathic Personality Traits Linked with Shunning Face Masks & Other COVID-19 Mitigation Measures

·420 words·2 mins
Psyched for the Weekend

In general, I don’t spend a lot of time exploring the dark side of human personality. As a psych nerd, I tend to focus more on neutral or positive functioning. And there’s a reason for this: I was in my mid 20s before I realized that psychology wasn’t just primarily concerned with illness and disease.

That’s because most of what tends to make it into common discourse re: psychology is concerned with abnormal psych. I had routinely run into lots of folks who either had a diagnosis themselves and talked about that. Or, more commonly, I ran into people who had taken one abnormal psych course in college — or had read one book on the subject — and thought that qualified them to walk around diagnosing other people.

I was thrilled to learn later on in life that this wasn’t all psychology had to offer. I found social psychology — the study of how people think, feel, and behave in groups. And I was immediately hooked and fascinated.

But every now and then, there does come a time where I’ll find an interesting personality study that intrigues me. And occasionally, I’ll even enjoy one whose roots are tightly wrapped around abnormal psych. For example, I previously covered a study in which sexist beliefs were linked to the dark triad of personality traits.

Sociopathic Personality Traits Linked with Shunning Face Masks & Other COVID-19 Mitigation Measures

Today’s study also fits the bill. It found that people with lower mask compliance are also higher in sociopathic personality traits. In particular, this study found that those that shunned COVID-19 containment measures had higher levels of callousness, deceitfulnuss, and risk-taking. They were also lower in empathy.

I can’t say that I’m surprised exactly. I had suspected that lower empathy levels would be linked to a refusal to wear masks, as the act belies a lack of concern for other people’s health and wellbeing.

And once you’re into low-empathy territory, many of those other traits often follow.

Still, it’s an interesting study and something I thought I’d cover and share with you folks.


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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