Self-Victimhood Is a Personality Type, Researchers Find
Many social commentators have argued that an emerging “victimhood culture” incentivizes people to see themselves as weak, traumatized, and aggrieved. In higher education, this has been associated with increased demands for specific accommodations like trigger warnings (which don’t work) and the policing of microaggressions (which is ill-conceived).
But what if this is not merely a trend but an entire personality type? A new paper in the scientific journal Personality and Individual Differences posits a Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood (TIV), an archetype defined by several truly toxic traits: a pathological need for recognition, a difficulty empathizing with others, feelings of moral superiority, and, importantly, a thirst for vengeance.
“The findings…suggest that victimhood is a stable and meaningful personality tendency,” write the study’s authors, a quartet of scholars associated with Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Pennsylvania.
The researchers solicited several hundred participants for a series of psychological experiments that tested their assumptions. As such, the results should be taken with a grain of salt—social psychology research suffers from notoriously thorny replication issues, since these kinds of experiments are not always great substitutes for the sort of thing being studied. In one of this paper’s experiments, for instance, a computer split a pot of money between itself and a human participant; this person was led to belie
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