There's a psychological name for the Chandler Bings and the Draco Malfoys of the world, according to a new study published in The Journal of Psychology. As it turns out, judging others, pushing people away, and spewing sarcasm isn't just an emotional response—it's a fixed, dispositional personality trait with a name: contemptuousness.
Defined as a tendency to see others as falling short of your standards, this trait has been linked to failed marriages, missed professional opportunities, and even terrorism, according to New York magazine. For the first time ever, psychologists no longer view contempt as a temporary emotional reaction that says little about who you are as a person; it's now a repeated behavior that's proven to be destructive.
Researchers from the University of California at Davis had a sneaking suspicion that these actions were indicative of a consistent personality type when they built a 10-question personality test called the Dispositional Contempt Scale. They asked over 500 participants to agree or disagree with statements such as, "I often lose respect for others" and "I often feel like others are wasting my time." The results were groundbreaking: You can be chronically unpleasant.
"Contemptuous people are disagreeable—they couldn’t care less care about making you happy—yet they also feel like others are unfairly imposing their standards on them," explains New York magazine's Drake Baer. "As a disposition, then, it would mean that all of the above isn't just something you do at a given moment, but is a pattern within your personality."
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