Tales From the Dark Side: The Dark Tetrad of Personality, Supernatural, and Scientific Belief

Journal article


Schofield, M., Roberts, B., Harvey, C., Baker, I. and Crouch, G. 2021. Tales From the Dark Side: The Dark Tetrad of Personality, Supernatural, and Scientific Belief. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 62 (2), pp. 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1177/00221678211000621
AuthorsSchofield, M., Roberts, B., Harvey, C., Baker, I. and Crouch, G.
Abstract

Theories such as the psychodynamic functions hypothesis, attribution theory, and the just world theory have been used to explain different types of supernatural belief. This study aims to examine “dark” personality traits and how they link to different beliefs using the Dark Tetrad. The Dark Tetrad” comprises narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism. Relationships have been found between dark personality traits and religious belief, but no studies have examined the Dark Triad or Tetrad and paranormal and scientific belief directly. An opportunity sample of 199 participants completed an online survey including scales measuring Dark Tetrad traits, religious and paranormal belief, and belief in science. Path analysis revealed five significant relationships. Belief in psychokinesis was negatively related to Machiavellianism, as was belief in common paranormal perceptions, which was also positively related to psychopathy. Religious belief was negatively related to psychopathy but positively related to sadism. Findings suggest some links between Dark Tetrad traits and elements of supernatural belief. The unexpected positive relationship between religiosity and sadism indicate that religious believers believe in a just world where people get what they deserve. These findings indicate that religious and paranormal experience, and dark personality are avenues for future research.

Keywordspsychodynamic functions hypothesis; supernatural belief; narcissism; Machiavellianism; psychopathy
Year2021
JournalJournal of Humanistic Psychology
Journal citation62 (2), pp. 1-18
PublisherSage
ISSN0022-1678
1552-650X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/00221678211000621
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00221678211000621
Output statusPublished
Publication dates16 Mar 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted2021
Deposited28 Sep 2022
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