The Light Triad of Personality Traits

In psychology, the dark triad of personality is well-known. Also, as an addition to the dark triad, a new theory is gaining traction: the light triad of personality.
The Light Triad of Personality Traits

Last update: 05 August, 2021

You’ve probably heard of the dark triad of personality. In psychology, it’s to measure the darkest personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Recently, a research team created a test to define the traits on the other end of the spectrum: the light triad of personality. 

This test was developed by Scott Barry Kaufman, David Yaden, Elizabeth Hyde, and Eli Tsukayama. Based on these positive traits, kantism, humanism, and faith in humanity, it can help understand what aspects make someone positively stand out.

All human beings have a dark and light side. What makes each person different is in what way they show patterns of thought, behavior, and dark emotions, against light emotions. There seem to be two different profiles of human nature.

This new scale works in trying to find the antagonist emotions in subjects that score high in dark emotions. This way, it’s a great way to explore the differences between the dark and the light of the personality.

Good and evil.

Light triad vs. dark triad

The dark triad measures narcissism (egotistic admiration of one’s idealized self-image and attributes), Machiavellianism (exploiting others for their gain), and psychopathy (disdain for other people’s feelings). These three show a tendency for resentment and exploitation of others.

Regarding the light triad of personality scale, those who score higher in the kantism area seem to tend to see people as people, not as a means to an end.

The participants in the study who scored high in humanism are prone to value dignity and people’s true value. Lastly, those with the highest scores in their faith in humanity are those who believe people are inherently good.

Good and kind people score high in the light triad of personality.

A rating scale of the light triad of personality

Based on the scientific literature about the dark triad of personality, Scott and his team decided to change things a bit. The dark triad proved useful in predicting behavior. For that reason, Scott and his team looked for a set of traits and attributes that could predict social behavior and conducts.

Although this concept may seem complex at first, the best way to understand the light triad of personality is to think of three simple statements:

  • “I believe most people are good.”
  • “I like to listen to people from all walks of life.”
  • “When I talk to someone, I rarely think about what I can get from them.”

This light triad is made up of 12 different questions. The answers to those questions represent a scale that goes from “totally disagree” to “totally agree”.

The psychological aspects

The result of Scott’s and his team’s work is that some psychological aspects are linked to those rated high on the scale of the light triad of personality. These people tend to:

  • Be intellectually curious.
  • Are certain of their attachment to others.
  • Show tolerance towards other people.
  • Have a low need to feel powerful over other people.
  • Are humble.
  • Have an agreeable nature.

Profiling people

This research’s results have helped create profiles on the light triad, in contrast to the dark triad. The personality profile of someone on the light triad is associated with elderly people, especially women.

These people usually experienced low unpredictability during their childhood years. They all had a high level of spirituality, satisfaction with life, compassion, empathy, and were open-minded.

Through this scale, psychology has found useful positive traits when predicting behaviors or establishing intervention guidelines. The goal of this is to improve the quality of life of people and those around them. 

Anyhow, researchers conclude that a lack of darkness doesn’t necessarily mean the presence of light. They say there’s a certain degree of independence between the light and dark triads. Thus, they agreed that each person is a unique mix of light and darkness.

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