Humans have been always been fascinated and terrified by individuals who exhibit malevolent behavior. Recently, psychologists have been attempting to pinpoint a certain factor or trait that could be a common denominator for psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, and many other people with strong, deviant characteristics. The beginnings of this research have identified what scientists are calling the “D” factor, and it’s quite a nose-dive into the darkest parts of our personalities.

Malevolence Defined

Psychologist Ingo Zettler at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark compiled a list of nine deviant, malevolent features of the human personality. This list includes egoism, Machiavellianism, moral disengagement, narcissism, psychological entitlement, psychopathy, sadism, self-interest, and spitefulness.


He conducted four separate studies with over 2500 participants where he handed out surveys with “dark” statements that participants must agree or disagree with. The questions included things like, “I’ll say anything to get what I want” or “Hunting people would be exciting”.

The “D” Factor

After analyzing the responses, researchers noticed a pattern of many traits overlapping. These overlaps, in turn, created what is now known as the “D” factor. For most people, it demonstrates itself as narcissism, psychopathy, or a combination of the two.


Each participant also received a percentage of their “score” of malevolent behavior. The percentage revealed their scores in relation to the common score among all survey-takers.

Interpreting The Common Denominators

Scientists are still trying to narrow down the traits of the “D” factor. There is much research still to be done. However, you can contribute to their research as well! By completing their¬†online survey, you can find out your percentage while assisting researchers with more responses to add to their analyses.

Geek Tyrant

Not only is it interesting as a whole to find out more information about ourselves, but the “D” factor could also potentially help therapists and psychologists alike in interpreting, diagnosing, treating, and preventing certain deviant behaviors from occurring.