The Dark Tetrad: 4 Toxic personality traits

By: Aditya Shukla, Cognition Today

Some personality traits work against people & society, and risk your own well-being.

(conceptualized by Dr. Delroy Paulhus)

They make relationships, family interactions, and work environments difficult & toxic.


Typical characteristics of those who show at least 1 of these 1. Lying & Cheating 2. Aggression 3. Manipulation 4. Sabotage 5. Deviant Unethical behavior 6. Stalking 7. Entitlement 8. Selfishness at the cost of others


1. Narcissism

Trait Description: -Inflated sense of self-importance -Superiority complex -Need for admiration & attention -Low empathy -Egocentric & proud behavior -Focused on self-image

2. Psychopathy

Trait Description: -Low empathy -Risk-taking -Lack of guilt & remorse -Lack of regret upon causing hurt & harm to others -Impulse -Shallow emotions

3. Machiavellianism

Trait Description: -Strategically deceitful -open to unethical behaviors if the ends justify the means -Self-serving at the cost of others -Manipulative for personal gain

4. Sadism

Trait Description: -Take joy at others' suffering -Abusive tendencies -Aggressive & cruel behaviors -Prone to take revenge-seeking actions -Tend to humiliate others -Think about making others suffer