Study links dark triad personality traits like narcissism to buying Cryptocurrencies

(ORDO NEWS) — Since the invention of bitcoin in 2009, the global cryptocurrency market has grown from zero to a value of around $2 trillion. From a price of $1 in 2011, bitcoin rose to an all-time high of over $63,000 in April 2021 and is now hovering around $42,000.

Significant fluctuations in the price of cryptocurrencies are common, making them a highly speculative investment. What kind of people are willing to take risks and what motivates them?

We did a survey to find out. In particular, we wanted to learn about the connection between the so-called “dark tetrad” of personality traits and attitudes towards cryptocurrencies.

Dark triad

In psychology, the “dark triad” refers to a group of four personality traits. These are Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy (collectively known as the “dark triad”), as well as sadism.

They are called “dark” because of their “evil” qualities: extreme selfishness and taking advantage of others without empathy. The dark tetrad is also often associated with risky behavior.

The attractiveness of cryptocurrency

We have identified two main areas of attraction. Firstly, the high risks and high potential returns of cryptocurrencies make them attractive to those people who love gambling.

Second, cryptocurrencies are not issued or backed by governments like traditional or “fiat” currencies. This makes them attractive to people who do not trust the government.

What are the personality traits of cryptocurrency buyers?

We asked 566 people to complete an online personality questionnaire, as well as answer questions about their attitude towards cryptocurrencies and whether they plan to invest in them. Of our participants, 26 percent reported owning crypto and 64 percent showed interest in crypto investing.

We measured their dark tetrad traits using standard psychological tests. We also measured traits that can associate the dark tetrad with judgments about cryptocurrencies: fear of missing out (FOMO; the feeling that others are experiencing better things than you are), positivity (the tendency to be positive or optimistic in life), and belief in conspiracy theories.

Why do people want to buy cryptocurrency? Not just to make money
A common reason for investing in cryptocurrencies is the hope of making a high return. In addition to the desire to build wealth, our research shows that dark personality traits also motivate people to buy cryptocurrencies.

Machiavellianism is named after the Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli. People who score high on this personality trait are good at deceiving and manipulating people.

Machiavellians use a calculated approach to achieving goals and avoid impulsive decisions. They are less prone to gambling.

Machiavellians also tend to believe in government conspiracies. For example, they often believe that politicians usually do not reveal their true motives, and government agencies carefully monitor all citizens.

We found that Machiavellians love cryptocurrencies primarily because they distrust politicians and government agencies. Many cryptocurrency advocates believe that governments are corrupt and cryptocurrencies avoid government corruption.

Self-confidence and positivity

Narcissism is an egocentric personality trait characterized by a sense of privilege and superiority over others. Narcissists are overconfident and more willing to do things like risky investments in the stock market and gambling.

Narcissists tend to focus on the positive side of life. We found that narcissists like cryptocurrencies because of their great faith in the future and the belief that their own lives will improve.

Impulsive psychopaths love cryptocurrency

Psychopathy is a callous, impulsive, anti-social personality trait. Psychopathic people often find it difficult to perceive, understand, or consider emotions due to a lack of emotional intelligence and empathy.

The reckless nature of psychopaths makes them more resilient to stress and anxiety. As a result, psychopaths love to seek stimuli and take risks. They are prone to gambling and gambling addiction.

We found that impulsive psychopaths like cryptocurrencies because they are afraid of missing out on the investment benefits that others experience.

How does sadism manifest itself?

Everyday sadism is associated with the fact that a person takes pleasure in other people’s suffering. Sadists often display aggression and violent behavior. For example, sadists troll others on the Internet for pleasure.

At first glance, buying cryptocurrencies is unlikely to cause harm to others. However, we found that sadists like cryptocurrencies because they don’t want to miss out on investment returns either. Perhaps for them, both the pleasure of contemplating someone else’s pain and the fear of missing out on profits are associated with selfishness.

Unlike narcissists, we found that both psychopaths and sadists lack a positive attitude towards their prospects, which cancels out their liking for cryptocurrencies.

Psychological prism

Studying cryptocurrencies through the psychological prism of the dark tetrad allows us to understand why people want to buy cryptocurrencies. We are not suggesting that everyone who is interested in cryptocurrencies exhibits dark tetrad traits.

We have studied only a fraction of people interested in cryptocurrencies who actually have such traits. If you are a holder of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, you may or may not exhibit these traits.

If you want to know what your Dark Tetra trait score is, you can take the online Dark Triad Personality Test and Sadism Test. The Conversation


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