Personality psychologists tend to separate dark personality traits into four distinct groups. Sadism is one of them.
By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | August 26, 2023
Sadism, a compelling and enigmatic facet of human personality, is one of the four dark dimensions within the Dark Tetrad framework.
Sadism reflects an individual's propensity to derive pleasure, satisfaction, or a sense of dominance from causing physical or emotional harm to others. As a sinister counterpart to empathy and compassion, this personality trait unveils a distinct and unsettling dimension that probes into the darker recesses of human nature.
Research led by the influential personality psychologist Delroy Paulhus provides a convenient way to measure sadistic tendencies in clinical and sub-clinical populations.
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References: Paulhus, D. L., Buckels, E. E., Trapnell, P. D., & Jones, D. N. (2020). Screening for dark personalities. European Journal of Psychological Assessment.