New research in the Journal of Homosexuality seeks to determine if there is a relationship between dark personality traits and negative attitudes toward those in the LBGTQ+ community. The findings reveal that those high in Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissism and psychopathy personality traits were likelier to hold homonegative and transnegative views. These results provide insight into the origins of homonegative and transnegative views and the people who hold them.
The FBI reported that in 2019, there were 1619 hate crimes related to the victim’s perceived membership in the LGBTQ+ community. Hate crimes and associated harassment are life-threatening for those in marginalized groups and disrupt feelings of safety and connections in communities. Identifying who is most likely to commit hate crimes and why may give clinicians meaningful insights that can be used to address risk factors for hate.
University of Oregon doctoral students Cameron Kay and Sarah Dimakis divided the study into two parts. Study 1 utilized 1032 undergraduate students from a large Oregon university. This study intended to explore the relationship between the dark traits of Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissism, and psychopathy and their associations with traditional and modern homonegativity, transnegativity, and gender bashing.
Modern homonegativity was defined as “homonegativity that is rooted in the belief that discrimination against gay people doesn’t exist and gay people are too outspoken about their sexual orientations.” Participants took assessments of dark personality types, homo and transnegativity, and a measure of their moral foundations.
The results from Study 1 revealed there is a strong relationship between Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and traditional and modern homonegativity, transnegativity, and gender bashing. Narcissism had similar results but was less associated with traditional homonegativity. Those high in Machiavellianism were less likely to believe morality should be addressed at an individual level. Psychopathy was mildly oriented toward binding moral foundations, while grandiose narcissism had a stronger relationship with this component.
The sample from study 1 was primarily composed of college students, a group that tends to have more liberal perspectives. Study 2 replicated the work of study 1 but with a sample recruited using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform. Utilizing this method, 267 participants were assessed exactly as those in Study 1.
The results reflected the findings from study 1 except in two areas. First, those participants with traits identified as grandiose narcissism were much more likely than the university sample in study 1 to report high rates of traditional homonegativity and gender-bashing.
Those scoring high in Machiavellianism were less likely to feel morality should reflect how we care for and pursue justice for individuals. When narcissistic personality traits were present, individuals were more likely to feel strongly about “binding moral foundations,” or morality that requires adherence to authority and loyalty.
These studies support the hypothesis that those with dark personality traits, specifically Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissism, and psychopathy, are more likely to harbor homonegative and transnegative feelings. For those with Machiavellianism, the origin of this may be due to their inability to care for others as individuals. Those with psychopathy and narcissism traits are likely inflexible when thinking about moral standards for others.
Perceiving morality as a binding and limiting societal contract may be a tool those with narcissism and psychopathic traits use to easily categorize human behavior and avoid acknowledging their inability to generate concern for others.
There were limitations to the study, including that both samples lacked diversity as compared to the world population. Investigating these questions using participants from various cultural and economic circumstances may yield different results. Additionally, while the study examined the moral foundations of homonegativity and transnegativity, other motivators could further illuminate the origins of hate.
Despite these limitations, the research contributes to understanding who may be at risk for developing homonegative and transnegative feelings and opinions.
The study, “Moral foundations partially explain the associations of Machiavellianism, grandiose narcissism, and psychopathy with homonegativity and transnegativity”, was authored by Cameron Kay and Sarah Dimakis