Coronavirus: Psychopaths likely to ignore COVID-19 prevention measures, hoard goods

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Psychopaths, narcissists and people with other so called ‘dark triad’ traits are more likely to ignore rules aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, and hoard goods such as toilet paper and food, new research has found.

The two new studies published in peer-reviewed journal Personality and Individual Differences add further evidence to previously published reports that noted a link between psychopathic traits and the likelihood of a person to practice coronavirus rules.

Social distancing policies have been in place since the onset of the virus, with authorities telling people to stay home and maintain adequate distancing with others when outside. There have, however, been numerous reports of people deliberately breaking social distancing measures, including so-called “coronavirus parties” in the US.

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The researchers in one of the new studies found a difference in behavior between individuals with dark triad traits (e.g. psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism), and collective narcissists, individuals who hold an inflated belief of their own group.

“We focused on preventive and hoarding behaviors as common reactions toward the pandemic. Participants characterized by the Dark Triad traits engaged less in prevention and more in hoarding, whereas those characterized by collective narcissism engaged in more hoarding only,” the researchers wrote.

In the second study, researchers found that the perception the individual’s perception of the pandemic in combination with personality traits colored the participant’s response.

“We found that the way people perceived the situation explained more variance in compliance than personality traits which is in accordance with the hypothesis that strong situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, leave less room for dispositional tendencies in predicting behaviors than situational cues,” the researchers wrote.

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