AN INTERACTIVE TRANSCRIPT IS AVAILABLE FOR THIS EPISODE: https://share.descript.com/view/PDj7Wi7M2oS or DOWN BELOW HERE ON SUBSTACK.
Eric chats with Delroy Paulhus, Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He famously co-created the term dark triad, describing everyday villains: psychopaths, narcissists, and Machiavellians. He and his collaborators have recently added a fourth factor: sadism.
In this episode, Eric and Delroy chat about how these dark personalities manifest in everyday life. How are they similar, and how are they different? How does Delroy study something like sadism in the lab? Where in society do these dark individuals flourish, and do they ever benefit society? Are they more intelligent? Do we have more psychopaths and narcissists among us now than in the past? Finally, Delroy shares if he is still able to see the good in people after studying dark personalities for so long.
WE NOW HAVE A SUBSTACK! Stay up to date with the pod and become part of the ever-growing community :)
If you found this episode interesting at all, consider leaving us a good rating! It just takes a second but will allow us to reach more people and make them excited about psychology.
Let us know what you think of this episode, or of the podcast! :) email@example.com
Eric: [00:00:00] Welcome back to the Stanford Psychology Podcast, where leading psychologists share their most recent work. This week I had the pleasure of chatting with Delroy Paulhus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. He famously co-created the term dark triad, describing everyday villains: psychopaths, narcissists, and Machiavellians.
He and his collaborators have recently added a fourth factor: sadism in this episode, we chat about how these dark personalities manifest in everyday life. How are they similar and how are they different? How does Delroy study something like sadism in the lab? Where in society do these dark individuals flourish, and do they ever benefit society?
Are they more intelligent? Do we have more psychopaths and narcissists among us than in the. Finally Delroy shares if he is still able to see the good in people after studying dark personalities for so long. Hope you enjoy this conversation.
Eric: I am very excited today to be talking with Delroy Paulhus for the Stanford Psychology Podcast about dark personalities, psychopaths and narcissistic people, people who are sadistic, Machiavellian, some very dark themes. So first of all, thank you for making the time, and why are we talking about these topics? How have you first become fascinated? I know that you have written that, quote, dark personalities are more fascinating than shiny, happy people. How did you first become interested in these kinds of topics?
Delroy: Well, like most of us, I was influenced by my advisors [00:02:00] back at Columbia University in the seventies, late seventies. And in particular, Richard Christie was the academic who came up with the notion of Machiavellianism as a personality variable. Now, he looked at the writings of Machiavelli, took statements from the Prince and some of his other writings and asked students in the 1970s how much they agreed with these statements and glory be, there was a dramatic difference.
A large variance in the responses and that's good for personality researchers. You always want to have differences, variance. And indeed, he found that people who agreed with statements like "it's okay to cut corners and and cheat every now and then," those people showed different behaviors in the laboratory.
[00:03:00] So his general approach then is the foundation of my work. He also was good at developing scales. I've kind of prided myself at developing useful psychometric indices over the years. And so even though I think we've improved on his measures by now, after all, it's been 50 years, and nonetheless, that was the root of my interest in dark personalities.
It was only later, being influenced by people like Bob Hare, that psychopathy was something different, something more dangerous, something that led to criminal behavior, that we started comparing them. And then narcissism came along in the eighties as a useful variable in [00:04:00] social psychology studies.
The advent of my work on the dark Personalities was when a student arrived, Kevin Williams, and brought a data set from his undergrad work and noted that there was a whole bunch of similar dark personalities. In fact, if you look at the literatures, they seem to creep larger and larger, and we call that construct creep.
And it may be a necessity of being an academic because you start with a small idea and you broaden it with a personality variable. All three of those literatures seem to start overlapping. In fact, they were hard to tell apart. You could find everything in the narcissism of literature is also in the [00:05:00] psychopathy literature and the Machiavellianism literature, maybe to a lesser degree. So the challenge was to differentiate those three and perhaps look further, in fact, should they just be collapsed into one. There's still a lot of people out there that challenge by saying no, it's all the same thing.
And so I'm a splitter. Those people are lumpers. My work has always been to try to distinguish the subtleties because I think it's somewhat dangerous to science when you have a bunch of variables that overlap with each other.
What that means is if you pick any one of 'em, it's gonna show similar results to the other two. So you don't know which construct you're actually working with, and that can lead us all astray. So construct [00:06:00] creep I think may have led us astray. So we've argued that you have to employ all three of those variables and perhaps more.
So that you can tell which one is driving your results, and of course you wanna show concrete behavior. There's no point in just playing with self-reports. And so that kind of summarizes the approach we've taken for how many years now? It's I guess over 20 years. And I think the term dark triad seems to have caught on not just psychometrically, but kind of a catchy term.
It sounds ominous, I guess, is part of it, and it just slips off the tongue very easily. So a lot of people have used measures of the dark triad in their literature.
Eric: [00:07:00] Okay. Let's make the case that there are at least three different kinds of dark personalities or everyday villains. Could you say a little bit more about how these three, and maybe even four traits- and people have added sadism, of course, as a fourth personality that you have worked on as well -how are these different?
Delroy: Well, theoretically they sound quite different. So the scary part is that when you try to measure them, they overlap.
And so there's a conflict there between the theory and the measurement. So what we tried to do then, Grabbed the essence of each of those three or four and made sure that they're present in the same measurement instrument, but distinctive enough along with the overlap not being too high. So just to keep them separate.[00:08:00]
In behavior that they predict different things? Well, sometimes they predict the same thing and some people have gotten discouraged because they say, Oh, it must be the same, because they all predict a certain kind of nasty behavior. So you have to be careful.
Now we, we added the fourth factor [sadism] fairly recently, and it, it started off with us chatting about what's missing among dark personalities, and usually people throw in sadism as part of psychopathy. But theoretically they're somewhat different. Psychopaths don't care if they hurt other people. Sadists care because they enjoy it. And doing research on sadism a real challenge because as we know, IRBs, Ethical research boards [00:09:00] are looking for any kind of sign that you're hurting your subjects and rightfully so.
So we had to come up with some ways of. Allowing people to be sadistic, but in an ethical way, if that doesn't sound too paradoxical. So we came up with a couple of ways of doing it. We had people killing bugs instead of killing people. And so, I forget what year that was, 2014, Aaron Buckles and Dan Jones, my two students at the time, came up with this way of killing bugs in a machine that looked kind of ominous.
People had to pick out bugs that had names on them, and so cute little names like Muffin and Ed, and they had to pour the bug into the killing machine and then press down [00:10:00] on it and they could hear this grinding sound.
It really sounded like they were killing the bugs. They were not. Of course, we just had settled it up so that there were coffee beans or something inside that sounded like something was being crunched. But some people, again, variance, some people seemed to really enjoy the idea that they were crunching animals.
And they asked for more: got any more bugs to crunch? At the other end of the spectrum, some people were so horrified of what we were asking them to do that they left the room and I'm out of here. I'm not doing this. We offered a number of alternative behaviors that they could do that were equally disgusting but did not involve apparently hurting any living organism.[00:11:00]
And we showed that that correlated with our psychometric measures. After refining them somewhat, we threw in another study where they did think they were hurting people, but hurting people with white noise as a history in psychology of being acceptable, I guess, because young people seem to like loud noise.
And so to give them another blast of it, it's not, nothing could take or their downloaded music that they turn way up, but put it in the right context that people were blasting 'em as a personal insult, seemed to connect with sadism measures. So both of those actual concrete behaviors were predictable from our sadism instrument that we have now [00:12:00] added into the dark Tetrad measure, and again, overlaps.
Sometimes they predict the same thing, but with enough experience you'll see that you've got discriminant validity in predicting behaviors. For example modern life has given us the internet, which allows people to be nasty and sadistic, where we published a behavior on trolling, internet trolling.
So we published a paper called Trolls Just Wanna Have Fun. So when we were looking for their motivation, it did seem like they were getting a kick out of it.
Eric: In psychology, many traits are what we call normally distributed, right? So conscientiousness, how hardworking and organized you are. You might say some people are really organized and some people are not organized, but [00:13:00] some, most people are somewhere in the middle. Many traits are normally distributed like this. For these dark personalities, it is tempting to think :well, they're not normally distributed. There must be a skew to them.
Right. Most of us, we're not narcissistic, we're not psychopathic. It's really just very few people who have those traits and then the rest of us are fine. Do the data bear this out?
Delroy: Yes. The data do bear that out. And it reminds me of my grad school days when we read papers saying that if you want to predict skewed behavior, well, you develop measures that are also skewed. So if you have low rate criteria, misbehaving in various ways, then you can develop measures that are also have a low mean, and you'll probably get better prediction than normalizing everything, which [00:14:00] is a temptation in psychometric.
So I think it makes sense. Low rate behaviors can be best predicted by skewed psychometric instruments.
Eric: Any of these traits are more prevalent, more widely distributed than others?
Delroy: Yeah. I think I'm trying to remember now. Sadism and psychopathy, I think have the lowest rates, whereas depending on how you measure, we've adjusted the measures so that they're not that much different in terms of means.
Eric: It is tempting to blame generations for all of societal ills, and it was Socrates thousands of years ago who already blamed young people for being selfish and lazy, entitled and abusive and toxic and parasitic and all these different things that we still see today. Do we have any good data on whether dark [00:15:00] triad behavior has been increasing or declining or been steady in the US or anywhere else in the world?
Delroy: Yeah, there's data out there on narcissism. Keith Campbell and Twenge have pushed that idea and others have resisted the idea based on exactly what you say, adults throughout the years have voice the same complaints about young folks who are exploring and being more thrill seeking, et cetera. So and thinking that they know everything seems to be a pretty common complaint about younger folks. So I have to agree with Socrates and many others since then that it's not a huge dramatic trend like some of my colleagues think it is.
Eric: There is cohort effects and there is age effects. Do we know anything about, on average, [00:16:00] when does dark triad or tetrad behavior peak in life and does it decline with age?
Delroy: Yeah. In particular, psychopathy has been, well, studied. If you get to talk to Bob Hare, he can give you a lot of details on this, but it seems to relent in mid age and fall off dramatically seventies and eighties.
You don't see as much psychopathic behavior. Now, whether that's the body settling down or whether that's the roles that older people are given where they have more responsibility and therefore have to be more careful about what they do. So that has not been settled, but it's true that criminal recidivism drops substantially after age 50 for psychopathy.
We don't have the data on the other dark [00:17:00] personalities, but I suspect I suspect that sadism may decline, although there have been serial killers that went on until their sixties. So I can't say too much about that other than literature on psychopathy, which is based on concrete criminal offenses.
Eric: What do we know about cultural effects of dark tetrad behavior. Do we find these three to four personalities all around the world? And if so, do they manifest any differently across cultures?
Delroy: Well, we don't know much beyond the so-called weird countries that certainly includes a lot of work in Germany, Switzerland, Holland, the UK all gets very similar.
So whether it's going to apply to other countries [00:18:00] with substantially different cultures, we don't really know. In Africa we know very little. I think there's work in South America that shows similar pattern of four dark personalities.
A little bit in China, but not enough to draw strong conclusions. So, as usual, work on psychology and other social sciences is primarily sourced in Western cultures, including Canada.
Eric: We call these personalities dark personalities for a reason because they damage social relationships, because they harm, they hurt others. What do we know about the people who are most likely to get taken advantage of by people with dark personalities?
Delroy: We don't know a lot, there is a researcher [00:19:00] at Carleton University, Adele Forth, and also Angela Book, both working in Ontario, who have been trying to find out the victimology of dark personalities and looking at walking gait, for example, perhaps psychopaths could pick out victims better than non psychopaths.
The work has not been extremely clear. So we can't make strong statements yet. And but yeah, those researchers are tackling it. We have not focused on that in our work. This speaks to the more widespread assumption that these people are smarter than the rest of us. They're more intelligent, they're better at reading people.
Eric: Is there any evidence for this?
Delroy: No. No, we [00:20:00] looked at various kinds of intelligence measures. Now talking about standard IQ measures now there's been quite a few studies that show no relationship with any of the dark personalities, even though it seems at times that. Some very intelligent individuals are showing these dark personalities, which may be a bit of a surprise to some commentators.
How can a person be so smart and yet be so awful? But it does seem to be an independent source of human behavior. That is IQ and these dark traits. Now there are other kinds of intelligence in the literature, emotional intelligence, et cetera, and there's a whole list of them, that are [00:21:00] measured with self-reports that are not related to standard IQ measures, and some of those, I'm not too familiar with it, but people have explored links between emotional intelligence, that is control over your emotions, self-reported and and dark behaviors, and found sporadic results there, but nothing particularly queer that I could see. There are behavioral measures of emotional intelligence, those have been around for quite a while, but again, show no relation to our dark personalities, which surprises some people but not others.
A related assumption is that dark personalities are more successful, right? We vote narcissistic, psychopathic, machiavellian [00:22:00] sadistic schemers into politics, into high office, into any other high positions in society. And then there's other work saying that these people can be found at the very bottom of society, oftentimes in prison, especially psychopathic offenders. What do we know about how successful people are with these dark personalities in society?
Yeah. Well you've touched on some of the results, and that is of the dark personalities, it's psychopathy that damages people's hope for success in normal society. Probably well only because of their impulsivity.
They just can't control themselves and get into trouble with aggression. They get into trouble with all kinds of crimes and therefore get shunted to lower levels of society. Narcissism can [00:23:00] show some degree of success as long as it doesn't get pushed too far, but there's a leadership component of narcissism that may show up in certain politicians and certain walks of life.
Confidence can go a long way in certain niches in life. You might think about Steve Jobs or even Donald Trump had a degree of success because of their confidence and it doesn't necessarily pay off in every respect. You still may offend a lot of people, but nonetheless there are some situations in which confidence can go a long way.
Eric: It almost seems like a requirement the higher up you go on society, let's say if you run for president, the arrogance and [00:24:00] entitlement it must take to think that you can run this country and be more successful than everyone else. It almost seems like a requirement.
Delroy: Yeah, I agree totally. And perhaps even a little bit of Machiavellianism. You have to be strategic to be a successful politician, and you have to cut corners here and there. You can't tell the truth all the time. You have to push certain aspects of your platform, play down others, or you're not gonna make it in politics.
So I would say we've been working on this idea of Moral Machiavellianism. There are some people with high moral standards who at the same time are pragmatic enough to know that a touch of manipulation here and there is gonna put you in a position so that you can affect your, your moral goals.
If you don't cut those corners, you're never gonna be [00:25:00] put in a position to help society. At least, that seems to be necessary conditions for success in society.
Eric: Do some harm along the way if it is for the greater good. Which of course is a rationalization oftentimes by non-moral Machiavellian people who just say this, but then they just keep harming us, right? They just give these promises, and I'm bringing this up of course, because we are recording this at a time with many totalitarian regimes in this world, some of which are fighting wars and totalitarian leaders that we are voting into government and it seems that in certain times of maybe chaos, or unpredictability, inequality, resentment, we are more likely to vote for these dark leaders in political elections because we think we need a strong man to bring society back together.
Delroy: Yep. You need a strong, confident leader. Otherwise, they're not leaders [00:26:00] at all. And I, I think in most cases, these leaders who appear to us to be somewhat dangerous have their own beliefs about what is good for their people.
And so that's the catch there. How can we criticize people with strong beliefs? For example, terrorists seem to be the ultimate believers in what they're pushing for. They're willing to give up their lives , blow themselves up. So exactly where we draw the line is not clear. When people who act on their beliefs usually have strong beliefs.
And we have to admit that beliefs vary in society. They vary across countries and they, they vary within society. And we don't know exactly how to draw a balance there between [00:27:00] the people who strongly believe and act on it. In a way, democracy is an odd idea. It's if you are willing to fight up until the election for your beliefs and then afterwards say, Okay, let's wait another four years.
Hmm. So one could argue you don't really believe in your, your values very strongly. If you say it just took an election for you to say. That's all right. I believe in democracy, so I'm willing to wait.
Eric: Yeah, it is fascinating. You need someone who is strong and will make this change and will not be stopped, but also then once they provoke change, they will not grab onto power and become a dictator. Right. It's the conundrum that you are speaking to and it's depressing to hear that we don't really know how to distinguish those people.
Delroy: No, but it, it's lucky that [00:28:00] in, in the US and many other countries, you're only allowed to stay in power for four years. Then it gets turned over and the parties are not that far apart. So you can go back and forth between Democrats and Republicans and not really alter society all that dramatically.
Although some people are horrified at the opponent. But yeah. Countries that allow you to keep power too long are eventually going to cause disasters.
Eric: You have suggested that to some extent these dark traits can help people become leaders in certain circumstances. Are they actually better leaders once they are elected?
Delroy: Well, probably not. I think Steve Jobs was the classic one. Now he was pushing products that only one person in the world believed in: Steve Jobs. [00:29:00] Everybody else thought it was nonsense. And He was right and it required runaway narcissism for him to keep pushing these ideas and to some extent changed the world because he didn't believe anyone but himself.
And it turned out though that that kind of personality was rather aversive to his colleagues. So in fact, his own company fired him. And they all said he was impossible to get along with interpersonally. Hmm. So he was a big success in, in an a sense of the word, but not a big success in the communal sense of the world. So hard to get along with, but extremely creative and extremely strong in pushing his ideas. [00:30:00] Hmm.
Eric: Good at getting ahead, but not getting along. How much self insight do dark personalities have? An intuition here could be that narcissists will be very vehement about telling you they are not narcissistic.
In fact, they're maybe even the most humble person ever. Right? Whereas for more Machiavellian psychopathic individuals, one intuition could be that they take a certain pride in being manipulative and taking advantage of others and might even brag about it.
Delroy: Yeah, I know a little bit about the work on insight and narcissists. They they seem to have a strategy for maintaining their exaggerated self worth, and that is to get angry if you challenge them. You certainly see that in Donald Trump, but also in more everyday narcissists. We, we ran several studies on [00:31:00] so-called Overclaiming, where you get people to claim to know things that don't even exist and narcissists would do a lot of that.
And if you challenge them on it, you say, How can you claim to know something that doesn't even exist. They will get angry, fight back and say You're wrong. It does exist. And so they fight back until you say it's not worth it to fight with them. . And I think that's a strategy that helps narcissists maintain and exaggerate self view.
Eric: I do want to follow up on the topic of aggression, which I know you have written about as well, and that dark personalities can be very aggressive, but for different reasons, and that different people might have different triggers. Is that right?
Delroy: Yeah. Yeah, that's right. We did a study in which we [00:32:00] provoked people to aggress using white noise.
This was with Dan Jones and they were most likely to aggress if they were narcissists who were insulted. That is their ego was insulted. They were told that a paper they wrote was nonsensical. And so that's what the trigger for narcissism is insulting their egos. Now for psychopaths, it was a physical threat, though there have been studies done where you bump into people.
In our case, we just gave them a random blast for no reason apparently, from this non-existent partner, and that made them particularly aggressive. So more of a, [00:33:00] of physical threat for psychopaths and an ego threat for narcissists.
Eric: This begs the big question of how good are we at detecting these people, and I know there is a lot of folk wisdom out there and a lot of you know, former CIA agent tells you three wonderful, perfect signs to tell if someone is lying to you and taking advantage of you. How good are we really at discovering these traits and others in everyday?
Delroy: Well, there's been research on lying for 70 years or so with not a lot of clear results. We have come to conclusions that lie detectors in the traditional sense of, did you kill Dr. Major in the library? Don't work. That just being asked that question, whether you're innocent or not, [00:34:00] is going to change your physiological responses.
So lie detectors are most effective in getting people to confess before you actually put them through the lie detection procedure. Now it's true. You can use something called guilty knowledge, and that is talk about items that were at the scene of the crime and watch for physiological responses.
If you see something at the crime that was not public knowledge. Only the perpetrator would know about and you see a reaction, then you can consider. It appears that there's evidence for lying going on, or evidence that they were involved in the scene of the crime. So standard lie detector, just asking people whether they're guilty or not, doesn't work, but [00:35:00] guilty knowledge applications do, do have a place in forensic detection.
Lying? Not much there. Some people can fake out lie detectors by exaggerating their responses to everything and therefore covering up anything about a criminal. But I don't know. I can't really speak to saying definitively that detecting lying is still almost impossible.
Eric: I want to come back to online hostility and trolling, which you suggested is highly predicted by sadism and you know, some psychopathy and just these dark personalities. It is very easy to think that all of us are trolling all the time online just because trolling behavior is so visible.
Once you go online on social media, people are writing about it. You hear [00:36:00] about it in the news, it seems to be everywhere, but is it fair to say that actually just because the behavior is visible everywhere, doesn't mean all of us are doing it. Instead, it seems to suggest that there's just a small minority of people with these dark personalities who are producing a disproportionate amount of online harm of harm in real life.
Delroy: Well, yeah, that's true. And that speaks to variance on these personality dimensions. You get some people doing it and some people don't. And the same thing on the self-report measures. Some people score high, some people score low. Now, it, it certainly has opened up our eyes to the amount of hostility out there in the world.
To see on almost any website whether it's you know, gardening for grandmothers or whatever, it takes about 15 or 20 comments until hostility starts [00:37:00] and you get people saying, F you Oh yeah, f you. And worse things than that. So you could argue that what we're doing is revealing the nasty behavior among ordinary people that has always been there, but kind of hidden, because in the past there weren't many opportunities to say nasty things to people without repercussions.
But the internet, especially comment sites, have provided exactly that. There's really no probability of punishment. You can say anything you want, and if you enjoy fighting with people, well, that's perfect venue.
Eric: Wow. As you have clarified before, There are clinical versions of some of these constructs. There's [00:38:00] narcissistic personality disorder. Bob Hare has worked on psychopathy at a clinical level, but you are really studying the everyday manifestations, the subclinical manifestations of these behaviors. I know that in the clinical realm, It seems very hard to change these people and their traits.
It's not impossible, but they are very resistant, of course, to changing, and they don't acknowledge that there's even anything wrong with them. Given that you are studying them and these traits at a subclinical level, how much hope is there for these people to become more empathic and kind, and if so, how are they going to change?
Delroy: The fact that all of these people in subclinical samples are managing in everyday life. They are students at universities or they are people with jobs. They are not in prisons. They are not under clinical care. And [00:39:00] nonetheless, or reporting these very malevolent traits suggests that having this variance is not necessarily a bad thing that it can pay off in some circumstances and not in others.
We've talked about having dark niches. Of the four malevolent traits that is, there's a place in society where they pay off. Certainly speaking from an evolutionary viewpoint, there must have been some payoff specifically with regard to reproduction for each of these traits for them to be maintained in our gene pool.
Largely conjecture, especially sadism. How on earth did that pay off in terms of reproduction so that it's not prevalent, but it's there [00:40:00] in the gene pool. So that's the toughest one. The others are not so hard to come up with examples of why it could lead to reproductive advantage.
For narcissists, for Machiavellians and or psychopaths or sadists, we suspect that it could pay off by scaring off competitors. Even scaring your victims into complying with your sexual desires. From an evolutionary point of view, it's easy to see why psychopaths, narcissist and Machiavellians could have a reproductive advantage in some situations.
But why do sadists? Speculation. But our best guess is that it scares off competitors in some situations and scares victims of your sexual [00:41:00] desires into complying. Hence, there's enough opportunities for data to have that advantage by scaring people, both competitors and victims. Nonetheless, like a lot of evolutionary speculation.
Eric: What are the reasons that we are attracted to Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic people in the dating realm? One thing that I have been really shocked about learning about these traits is how charming and charismatic they are. And then this is what people say they look for in a partner under certain circumstances.
And that seems like a bad dating strategy if one knows anything about dark personalities. How do they thrive evolutionarily?
Delroy: Yeah, well, it's all about getting mates, getting sexual partners and narcissists, of course, because of their, their confidence can give an image that's attractive [00:42:00] to other potential mates.
And they also not only look attractive, but they have the confidence to keep on trying. Now, Machiavellians, of course, can manipulate people into having sex with them, and there's a lot of evidence in the evolutionary field that this goes on. Given that, what is it something like 15% of people have a different father than they thought they did.
And in fact, I'm one of those, I didn't, I didn't discover my biological father till I was in my sixties. Apparently, it's a pretty common thing. But psychopaths are compulsive, they grab opportunities and run with them. Whereas non- psychopaths might be more careful and therefore have fewer opportunities to mate.
Eric: We are running up against time, [00:43:00] sadly, and so I want to close by asking you: you mentioned concept creep among researchers earlier on, you study narcissism, so you see it everywhere. I have been reading about these concepts. I see them everywhere. Right? Someone makes one entitled comment and I think, Oh God, narcissism.
But that's of course not how personality constructs work, and yet it is so tempting. After having studied these topics for so long, how cynical are you about human nature? Do you still see the good in people? How do you not become overwhelmed with detecting these dark traits in people all the time?
Delroy: It's a good question. It's hard. I guess it's hard for me to be aware of whether I'm cynical or not. You know, cynicism was part of the Machiavellianism construct originally. It was considered to be a rationalization, that people are stupid and therefore I need to tell 'em what to do. And, and they're out for their own self-interest anyway. It's their fair game for me to be looking out for number one. [00:44:00] And it could be partly a rationalization for some people. Could be accurate in many cases. I like to think since I've been working in the field that I would be more accurate than others. But it's hard to say.
Of course the other end of cynicism is being a Pollyanna. And so whether it's good to be cynical or good to be a Pollyanna is gonna depend on your degree of accuracy in detecting whether you've got a malevolent actor in front of you.
Eric: What a terrific conversation. Thank you so much for making the time. I've learned a lot. I am sure our listeners have learned a lot. Thank you.
Delroy: I enjoyed it. I hope we meet someday. In person.
Oh, I, I would love that . Thank you.
Eric: Thank you for listening! Following Robert Cialdini's advice here on this podcast, let's see if I can convince you to take about [00:45:00] five seconds of your valuable time and leave us a quick review on Spotify, apple podcasts, or elsewhere. This podcast has been a labor of love by several wonderful young folks here in the department, and we have been surprised by the ever increasing reach the podcast has had.
We are near half a million downloads a year and a half since we started. With tens of thousands of new downloads and thousands of new followers every single month in nearly every country around the world, help us make even more people excited about psychology by leaving us a review or subscribing to our no-spam, all-fun Substack at https://stanfordpsypod.substack.com/ to connect with other listeners or shoot us an email with your thoughts or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and have a wonderful, psyched day.