Antiheroes, morally ambiguous characters who are not clearly either good or evil, are popular protagonists in modern media. A recent study found that people who have a particular affinity for antiheroes tend to be relatively high in antisocial traits, particularly aggression, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. This suggests that people may particularly…


Personality traits affect willingness to stay at home during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people in countries around the world were asked to stay at home or “shelter-in-place” to help prevent the spread of the disease. The effectiveness of sheltering-in-place policies depends heavily on people’s…


Rather than fostering humility, does religiosity inflate pride instead?

Self-enhancement is when one is motivated to maintain or increase how positively one views oneself. The desire for self-enhancement seems to be a universal human motive, yet it has long been decried as a vice by major religions, especially Christianity, which preach the virtue of being humble and self-effacing. For…


High intelligence increases support for freedom of speech.

Although there is widespread agreement that freedom of speech is foundational to a democratic society, in practice, people differ greatly in how much they support controversial speech, especially from groups they do not like. …


  • People who said they had used a psychedelic drug such as LSD or psilocybin at least once in their life tended to rate higher on some markers of health compared to non-users.
  • These individuals reported somewhat better self-rated health, on average, and were less likely to be classified as overweight…

Machiavellians may be the most intelligent of the dark personalities.

In popular culture, “evil genius” characters-that is, someone who combines brilliance with malevolence-have had recurring popularity. There is even a widespread misconception, which I have discussed in a previous post, that psychopaths are more intelligent than the average person (Furnham…


Does a cosmic perspective threaten the self? Not much, it seems

Certain writers have claimed that contemplating the vastness of space-time induces feelings of nihilistic dread, i.e. overwhelming feelings of being insignificant that threaten one’s sense of self. Such “cosmic horror” was a major theme in the works of H.P…


Machiavellian personalities may enjoy political campaigning more than others.

In personality psychology, Machiavellianism refers to a cynical and manipulative approach to interpersonal relationships that embraces “moral flexibility” for personal gain. …


Specific personality traits are related to drug use.

Psychologists have long been interested in understanding what factors influence whether a person takes recreational drugs. Personality traits are well known to influence many areas of a person’s life, and drug-taking is no exception. Several studies on the subject have looked at the Big 5 personality traits: openness to experience


Pet ownership preferences may reflect personality differences

Many studies have tried to understand the factors that affect whether people own pets. One recent study (Perry & Burge, 2020) examined the role of religion in pet ownership and found that people who attended religious services more frequently tended to own fewer pets. More specifically, they were less likely…

Scott McGreal

Blogging about psychology research, especially in personality and individual differences, as well as psychedelic drug research, and whatever else takes my fancy

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