Jonas Enge
Jonas Enge@maccyber
The Dark Core of Personality

The Dark Core of Personality

3 min read

Welcome to the exploration of one of the most intriguing concepts in personality psychology: the Dark Core of Personality, or simply "D". In a comprehensive study by Morten Moshagen and his colleagues from Ulm University, they delve into the darker side of human traits, revealing how certain negative personality aspects are interconnected, shaping behaviors that most would deem ethically, morally, or socially questionable.

Understanding "D" - The Dark Factor of Personality

The concept of "D" refers to a general disposition that exists within all individuals to some extent. It manifests through a variety of dark traits such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, egoism, and even psychopathy. The essence of "D" is the inherent tendency in some individuals to maximize personal benefits at the cost of others, regardless of the consequences.

Key Insights from the Study

The researchers conducted an extensive analysis involving over 2,500 participants, examining numerous dark traits and their overlap. The findings were striking, confirming the presence of a "dark core" in personality that influences a wide range of negative behaviors.

  • Commonality Among Dark Traits: Dark traits share a common core, which means traits like narcissism, spitefulness, and others are not completely independent but are expressions of the underlying "D".
  • Prediction of Questionable Behaviors: "D" was a significant predictor of behaviors considered unethical or harmful, such as cheating, lying, and manipulating others for personal gain.
  • Cultural and Historical Examples: The study contextualizes "D" with examples from history and literature, noting characters and historical figures who embody these dark traits, illustrating the timeless nature of these characteristics.

What This Means

Understanding the dark core of personality helps in predicting potential behaviors and addressing the root causes of socially destructive actions. It also provides insights into personal and professional relationships, helping individuals and organizations make informed decisions about whom they trust and how they manage relationships.

Implications for Society

The implications of this research are profound. By understanding that these traits are interconnected, psychologists and professionals can better identify and address behaviors that undermine teamwork, trust, and integrity. This research also underscores the importance of psychological assessments in various fields, including hiring practices, education, and law enforcement, to mitigate risks associated with high levels of dark traits.


The dark core of personality is a pivotal concept in understanding the darker side of human nature. This study by Moshagen and his team opens up new avenues for research and practical applications in psychology, enhancing our ability to understand and interact with the world around us in more informed ways.

This blog aims to bring such complex psychological concepts to a broader audience, providing insights that can help in personal development and in fostering healthier societal interactions. Stay tuned for more insights into the fascinating world of personality psychology!


Dark Core of Personality
Morten Moshagen research
Dark traits in psychology
Narcissism and Machiavellianism
Psychological study of egoism
Psychopathy and societal impact
Interconnected dark traits
Predicting unethical behaviors
Historical examples of dark traits
Dark Factor "D" study
Influence of personality on behavior
Understanding antisocial behaviors
Psychological assessments in hiring
Dark traits and team dynamics
Trust issues in relationships
Psychological implications for society
Enhancing psychological understanding
Personality psychology insights
Addressing dark personality traits
Dark traits in professional settings