The study, published in the scientific journal 'Collabra: Psychology', defines them as manipulative and aggressive.
Everyone knows at least one person who is irritating, infuriating, and generally unpleasant. New research from the University of Georgia (United States) has developed the average profile of this type of personality: a middle-aged man little interested in changing his behavior.
Published in the scientific journal Collabra: Psychology, the study asked nearly 400 participants to think about the person they hated the most in their life to assess their traits. The researchers found that most of the recipients of this 'accolade' were seen as manipulative and aggressive.
These characteristics, along with other common themes such as manipulation and irresponsibility, not only characterize this type of individual. These are some of the same traits that stand out in the profiles of experts on psychopathic, antisocial, and narcissistic personality disorders. However, the researchers point out that these similarities do not necessarily mean that such obnoxious people have a personality disorder.
“People didn't have much trouble figuring out who they disliked the most in their life. About half were former romantic partners of the participants, former bosses, or estranged family members. On average, the participants did not think they were very attached to these individuals, which makes sense because these people are described as having quite aversive behaviors, "explains Brinkley Sharpe, lead author of the study.
But about one in three of these people were currently in the participants' lives, including co-workers, friends and even current romantic partners.
After identifying the person they put up with the least in their lives, participants were asked to describe how close they were to that person, the type of relationship they had with that person, and how well the term fit that person. Respondents were then asked to describe the top three behaviors that made that person "stupid."
For each of these behaviors, the participants had to answer this series of questions: “Do you think that person knows that his behavior annoys people? Do you think that person cares that her behavior annoys people? And do you think that person could change his behavior if he really wanted to?
irascible and violent
Most participants believed that these people were aware that their behavior annoyed people, but they didn't care enough to change.
“I find it interesting that the behaviors that people were focusing on were of all kinds. When we talk about personality, that hateful person was described as someone who is not nice and is angry. When it comes to behavior, he's not necessarily antagonistic toward people, he just doesn't care what other people think or how they're perceived," says Sharpe.
These people seemed to have difficulty regulating their anger, were irresponsible, and had intolerant opinions. Responses ranged from seemingly trivial complaints, such as poor maintenance of home furnishings, to more serious ones. “Some of the responses were quite violent. We had a couple of them in which the individual had done something that was downright criminal, "says the researcher.
Others were more indicative of the times we are living in, as some participants complained that the person was not wearing a mask or that they voted for former US President Donald Trump.