What makes you laugh could indicate whether you are a narcissist or a psychopath, a new study has found.
Researchers at Studio Psi.Co. in Italy investigated the connection between comic style descriptors and ‘dark triad’ personality traits.
These are psychopathy, defined by lack of empathy and antisocial behaviour; narcissism, a self-centred personality style; and Machiavellianism, demonstrating manipulation and indifference towards morality.
The psychologists claim that those exhibiting these traits may use humour to belittle others or elevate themselves in a more socially-acceptable manner than outright attacking or bragging.
What makes you laugh could indicate whether you are a narcissist or psychopath, a new study from the Italian institution Studio Psi.Co. has found
Researchers at Studio Psi.Co. in Italy investigated the connection between comic styles and the ‘dark triad’ personality traits – narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism
WHAT ARE THE EIGHT COMIC STYLES?
Lighter styles – share a basis of positive emotions and benevolence
- Fun – aimed at spreading good mood and good companionship.
- Humour – aimed at arousing the sympathy and shortcomings of fellow humans while adhering to an accepting and serene world view.
- Nonsense – based on playing with incongruities and ridiculousness without any purpose.
- Wit – the ability to plays with words and create clever thoughts.
Darker styles – related to mockery and ridicule
- Irony – aimed at creating a mutual sense of superiority by stating things in opposition to their meaning.
- Satire – distinguished by deprecating the bad and foolish.
- Sarcasm – based on being critical of others and conveying contempt.
- Cynicism – aimed at depreciating commonly acknowledged values.
The authors wrote: ‘Machiavellianism and psychopathy correlated positively with the darker styles.
‘Psychopathy showed the strongest positive correlations with the mockery styles; satire, sarcasm, and cynicism.
‘Machiavellianism was the best predictor of irony and was not related to the other comic styles.
‘Narcissism mainly correlated significantly with the lighter styles, being the best predictor of wit and humour, while it was not related to nonsense.’
The researchers gave 715 adults two questionnaires; one to determine their comic style and the other to uncover any dark personality traits.
They used statistical analysis to determine any correlation between the two.
The eight comic styles were defined in a 2018 study, and were split into ‘lighter’ and ‘darker’ styles.
The four lighter styles are ‘fun’, ‘humour’, ‘nonsense’ and ‘wit’, that share a basis of benevolence and positive emotions.
The darker styles are ‘irony’, ‘satire’, ‘sarcasm’ and ‘cynicism’, which all relate to mockery and ridicule.
The analysis, published in June in Personality and Individual Differences, showed connections between each style and the dark triad of narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.
Narcissism was associated with two of the lighter styles; fun and, more strongly, wit.
Witty remarks involve coming up with unexpected punchlines, indicating creativity and intelligence.
There was also a small correlation with the darker style of satire, that can be evoked without damaging the interpersonal relationships that are highly regarded by narcissists.
The authors wrote: ‘Narcissists may use positive humour as a way to positively improve their own reputations when interacting with others.’
Psychopathy was strongly associated with darker styles of irony, sarcasm and cynicism.
These aggressive, ‘laughing-at’ humour styles reinforce that psychopaths are low in empathy and are bullying in nature.
The psychotherapists wrote: ‘Psychopaths may use these kinds of humour to lower others’ statuses, not considering others’ feelings, as they are characterised by deficits in emotional function and antisocial behaviour.’
Psychopathy was strongly associated with darker styles of irony, sarcasm and cynicism. These aggressive, ‘laughing-at’ humour styles reinforce that psychopaths are low in empathy
Machiavellianism was also linked to irony and cynicism, with a stronger correlation with the former.
The researchers claim this is because irony is used to highlight the weaknesses of others in a socially acceptable manner that would not tarnish one’s own reputation.
‘Machiavellianism is characterised by manipulative behaviours, and these individuals may employ this form of humour as a way of controlling others,’ they wrote.
It was also positively related to wit, which involves playing with ideas, and requires the impulse control and cognitive ability demonstrated by this personality trait.
Whereas Machiavellianism was negatively related to benevolent humour, that treats weaknesses kindly.
The researchers claim that this reinforces how Machiavellians have no interest in helping others with their problems.
As none of the study participants showed especially high levels of any of the three dark personality traits, future research could look into patterns with a more extreme group.
Men with dark personality traits are more likely to be repeatedly unfaithful, study reveals
If your boyfriend is always talking about how great he is, a new study may encouarge you to be wary.
Researchers have revealed that men with dark personality traits – including Machiavellianism, narcissism and sadism – are more likely to be repeated cheaters.
The survey results also showed that men obtained higher scores than women both in moral disengagement and dark personality traits.
‘People with dark personality traits can establish short-term relationships more easily because they generally have low expectations about their future partners, especially in the case of men,’ said researchers Laura Ferreiros and Miguel Clemente from Universidade da Coruna.
Researchers have revealed that men with dark personality traits – including Machiavellianism, narcissism and sadism – are more likely to be repeated cheaters (stock image)