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Journal Article

Testing the equivalence of the aversive core of personality and a blend of Agreeableness(-related) items


Thielmann,  Isabel
Independent Research Group: Personality, Identity, and Crime, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law, Max Planck Society;

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Horsten, L. K., Thielmann, I., Moshagen, M., Zettler, I., Scholz, D., & Hilbig, B. E. (2024). Testing the equivalence of the aversive core of personality and a blend of Agreeableness(-related) items. Journal of Personality, 92(2), 393-404. doi:10.1111/jopy.12830.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000C-AA87-C
There is an ongoing debate in personality research whether the common core of aversive (“dark”) traits can be approximated by or even considered equivalent to one of the constructs that have been labeled “Agreeableness”. In particular, it has been suggested that the low pole of (what we term) AG+, a broad blend of Big Five Agreeableness and the HEXACO factors Honesty-Humility, Agreeableness, and Altruism, is essentially equivalent to the Dark Factor of Personality (D). Based on theoretical differences, we herein test empirically whether D and AG+ are isomorphic.

Self-report data on D, AG+, and eight criterion measures reflecting justifying beliefs, inflicting disutility on others, and affiliative tendencies were collected in a pre-registered study (N = 1156) and analyzed via confirmatory factor modeling.

Results speak against unity of D and AG+ (35% shared variance) and support the notion that D subsumes a broader range of aversive content (i.e., justifying beliefs and inflicting disutility on others) than AG+, which, in turn, subsumes a slightly broader range of non-aversive, affiliative tendencies.

We conclude that AG+ is non-equivalent to the common core of aversive traits, D.