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by Elizabeth Nolan Brown
New study links virtue signaling to “Dark Triad” traits. Being accused of “virtue signaling” might sound nice to the uninitiated, but spend much time on social media and you know that it’s actually an accusation of insincerity. Virtue signalers are, essentially, phonies and showoffs—folks who adopt opinions and postures solely to garner praise and sympathy or whose good deeds are tainted by their need for everyone to see just how good they are. Combined with a culture that says only victimhood confers a right to comment on certain issues, it’s a big factor in online pile-ons and one that certainly contributes to social media platforms being such a bummer sometimes.
So: Here’s some fun new research looking at “the consequences and predictors of emitting signals of victimhood and virtue,” published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The paper—from University of British Columbia researchers Ekin Ok, Yi Qian, Brendan Strejcek, and Karl Aquino—details multiple studies the authors conducted on the subject.