The belief in social Darwinism is associated with dysfunctional psychological characteristics

The belief in social Darwinism is associated with dysfunctional psychological characteristics

Those who subscribe to Social Darwinism view the social world as a kind of competitive jungle requiring ruthless competition for limited resources, in which only the "strongest" survive. Social Darwinism includes a negative view of human nature, holding that people are inherently selfish and that cynical manipulation is an acceptable route to get ahead.

A new survey study links belief in the concept of Social Darwinism with certain dysfunctional psychological characteristics, such as exploitative attitudes toward others, hostility, and low self-esteem.

Only the strongest

To better understand the personal characteristics underlying the belief in Social Darwinism, a four-part survey study was conducted, each of which included 624 to 853 Polish participants . Specifically, they examined the links between people’s belief in Social Darwinism and its characteristics regarding attachment styles, "Big Five" personality traits, the "dark triad" of personality, basic human values. and moral judgments.

Analysis of the survey results revealed links between belief in social Darwinism and dysfunctional personal characteristics, as opposed to more positive "individual assets." For example, social Darwinists were more likely to show admiration for power , a desire to dominate, a desire to pursue their goals at all costs, and hostility. They were also more likely to have low self-esteem, low self-reliance, and a fearful attachment style in their close relationships.

The results are in line with the idea that social Darwinists have beliefs that conflict with the principles of liberal democracy , and their view of social life is not conducive to fostering a cooperative and egalitarian society. The authors also note an underlying "mental split," in the sense that social Darwinists tend to worship strength and power while having a fragile image of themselves.