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People With Psychopathic Personality Traits ‘Have Disproportionately Large Impact’ On The COVID-19 Pandemic

Photo by the Associated Press

Some people are more willing to adhere to public health guidelines than others, which comes down to personality. Whitman College researchers found people with psychopathic personality traits such as meanness and disinhibition are more likely to ignore official health advice as it relates to the pandemic. Researcher Dr. Pavel Blagov says, “There may be a minority of people with particular personality styles (on the narcissism and psychopathy spectrum) that have a disproportionate impact on the pandemic by failing to protect themselves or others.”

The majority of people who reported ignoring public health guidelines during the pandemic scored low for “agreeableness” and “conscientiousness.” It was higher on the psychopathic sub-traits meanness and disinhibition. In turn, those with the psychopathic traits were more likely to touch or sneeze on regularly used surfaces in public, were uninterested in social distancing, and resisted extra hygiene-related measures. However, these findings are still considered preliminary and have yet to be peer-reviewed.

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