The three positive personality traits

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The three great factors of this "luminous triad", are in turn composed of twelve elements, which "capture" the essence of Kantism, humanism, and faith in Humanity

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LatinAmerican Post | Ricardo Segura, with EFE information

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The prestigious psychologist of the University of Columbia (USA) Scott Barry Kaufman believes that greater efforts must be devoted to researching the positive side of the human personality, taking into account that studies of the psyche are massively focused on the less facet edifying and more pathological of our inner world.

One of the pillars for investigating aversive people, that is, those who have unpleasant behaviors for others, is the so-called "dark triad of personality," discovered by psychologists Delroy L. Paulhus and Kevin M. Williams, in 2002, as Scott Barry Kaufman points out.

This third feature that consists of narcissism, or exaggerated admiration towards oneself; Machiavellianism, strategic exploitation and deception of others; and psychopathy, that is insensitivity and cynicism, has been well studied, discovering that we all possess these attributes, to some extent.

"Socially aversive people exist, but what about the bright side of human nature? What about the 'saints' of everyday life? With those people whose being illuminates what exists around them in all directions, who emit unconditional love naturally and spontaneously because that is their nature? ”, reflects Kaufman. (http://ScottBarryKaufman.com).

To find out, this psychologist began working with researchers David Yaden, Elizabeth Hyde, and Eli Tsukayama, analyzing aspects such as forgiveness, trust, honesty, care, acceptance and intrinsic enjoyment of connecting with others instead of using to people as a means to an end.

To his surprise, three major factors emerged from the work that he labeled as "the luminous triad" and which includes Kantism, that is, treating people as ends in themselves, not as mere means; humanism, valuing the dignity and value of each individual; and faith in humanity, which consists in believing in the fundamental goodness of people.

After a sophisticated statistical analysis, Kaufman and his team established that the three great factors of this "luminous triad", are in turn composed of twelve elements, which "capture" the essence of Kantism, humanism, and faith in Humanity.


These twelve key elements that the American specialist has found out are:

1.- The tendency to see the best in a person.

2.- Believe that others will treat us fairly.

3.- To think that people are, above all, good-hearted.

4.- Quickly forgive those who have harmed us.

5.- Tendency to admire others.

6.- Applaud success in other people.

7.- Treat others as valuable beings.

8.- Pay attention to people of all social conditions.

9.- Prefer honesty to charm.

10.- Feeling disgusted when manipulating people.

11.- Be authentic even if it can damage our reputation.

12.- Talk to people without thinking about what you can get from them.

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Based on these twelve elements, they designed an online test (https://scottbarrykaufman.com/lighttriadscale/) to evaluate the percentages of “dark triad” and “light triad” that the person who answers the questions in that test has.

This questionnaire has been answered by thousands of people of different ages, genders, races, and ethnicities, showing consistent results, according to the researchers.

"For many people, their ego gets in the way of their personal growth and development," Kaufman tells Efe.

“In a clinical setting, knowledge of the dark and bright triads can help patients“ learn more about the darkest trends that can damage their relationships and their satisfaction with life, and about the potential for benevolence within them and to which they can resort more to bring light to themselves and others,” emphasizes this psychologist.

The analysis of the results obtained supports the idea that in each of us, psychological light and darkness coexist in different proportions, and revealed that the average person leans more towards the light in their daily thoughts, behaviors, and emotions and that Extreme malevolence is very rare in the general population.

The researchers found that the “dark triad” has a positive correlation with being young and male, being motivated by power, instrumental sex, achievements and affiliation (but without intimacy), having self-improvement values, an immature style of defense psychological, conspicuous consumption and selfishness.

People with a higher dark percentage also tend to make utilitarian moral judgments and to consider the creative work and immortality that religions promise, as a way to transcend death, according to this work.


In contrast, the “light triad” was associated with being older and female, and with being less unpredictable in childhood, as well as presenting higher levels of religiosity, spirituality, satisfaction with life and acceptance of others, and sustaining beliefs that others are good and that you are too.

Compassion, empathy, openness to experiences, awareness, positive enthusiasm, having a calm ego and believing that one can continue to live after death through nature and the children they have had, are other factors associated with the "light triad" in the test.

People with a higher percentage of positive traits are also more likely to be satisfied with their relationships, competence, and autonomy, as well as to present in their relationships higher levels of secure attachment and eroticism, and primary motivation to cultivate intimacy and self-transcendence values, according to the test results.

The people most inclined to the "luminous triad" also showed strengths such as perspective, enthusiasm, love, kindness, teamwork, forgiveness, and gratitude, as well as a positive curiosity.

Likewise, mature psychological defense styles based on humor, altruism or anticipation were associated with the positive perception of life; in optimistic beliefs about oneself, the world and the personal future; and high levels of self-esteem and authenticity.

"We hope that our research helps to balance the forces in personality psychology, since there are everyday psychopaths but also the day-to-day saints and, they are as worthy of being investigated, as fostered in a society that sometimes forgets that, there is not only good in the world, but also in each one of us,” concludes Kaufman.