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Thursday, February 23, 2023

Moral foundations partially explain the association of the Dark Triad traits with homophobia and transphobia

Kay, C. S., & Dimakis, S. M. (2022, June 24). 


People with antagonistic personality traits are reportedly more racist, sexist, and xenophobic than their non-antagonistic counterparts. In the present studies (N1 = 718; N2 = 267), we examined whether people with antagonistic personality traits are also more likely to hold homophobic and transphobic attitudes, and, if they are, whether this can be explained by their moral intuitions. We found that people high in Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy are more likely to endorse homophobic and transphobic views. The associations of Machiavellianism and psychopathy with homophobia and transphobia were primarily explained by low endorsement of individualizing moral foundations (i.e., care and fairness), while the association of narcissism with these beliefs was primarily explained by high endorsement of the binding moral foundations (i.e., loyalty, authority, and sanctity). These findings provide insight into the types of people who harbour homophobic and transphobic attitudes and how differences in moral dispositions contribute to their LGBTQ+ prejudice.

General discussion

We conducted two studies to test whether those with antagonistic personality traits (e.g., Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissism, and psychopathy) are more likely to express homonegative and transphobic views, and, if so, whether this is because of their moral intuitions.Study 1 used a convenience sample of 718undergraduate students drawn from a university Human Subjects Pool. It was exploratory, in the sense that we specified no formal hypotheses. That said, we suspected that those with antagonistic personality traits would be more likely to hold homonegative and transphobic attitudes and that they may do so because they dismiss individualizing morals concerns (e.g., do no harm; treat others fairly). At the same time, we suspected that those with antagonistic personality traits would also deemphasize the binding moral foundations (e.g., be loyal to your ingroup; respect authority; avoid contaminants, even those that are metaphysical),weakening any observed associations between the antagonistic personality traits and LGBTQ+ prejudice. The purpose of Study 2 was to examine whether the findings identified in Study 1 would generalize beyond a sample of undergraduate students.  Since we had no reason to suspect the results would differ between Study 1 and Study 2, our preregistered hypotheses for Study 2 were that we would observe the same pattern of results identified in Study 1.

There was clear evidence across both studies that those high in the three antagonistic personality traits were more likely to endorse statements that were reflective of traditional homonegativity, modern homonegativity, general genderism/transphobia, and gender-bashing. All of these associations were moderate-to-large in magnitude (Funder & Ozer, 2019), save for the association between narcissism and traditional homonegativity in Study 1. These results indicate that, on top of harbouring racist(Jones, 2013), xenophobic (Hodson et al., 2009), and sexist (Gluck et al., 2020) attitudes, those high in antagonistic personality traits also harbour homonegative and transphobic attitudes.