Meaningless and weak: Debunking the ‘Bitcoiners are psychopaths’ study
Categories: Bitcoin US
A study claiming that psychopaths and others with ‘Dark Tetrad’ personality traits are drawn to crypto has been criticized as "meaningless" for showing very weak correlativity by a psychology expert from The University of Otago. Researchers with backgrounds predominately in marketing and advertising from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) surveyed 566 people on their attitudes toward crypto and correlated the results with four specific personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and sadism.
The findings were first shared by The U.S. Sun, and were widely syndicated by the mainstream media, with the New York Post headline screaming “Bitcoin fans are psychopaths who don't care about anyone,” and Salon asserting that “Impulsive psychopaths like crypto”.The widely used Short Dark Triad (SD-3) personality test which rates the traits of psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism out of a maximum score of 5 was used to assess participants’ personalities.
The results of the study show that participant's scores for psychopathy and narcissism were below the average levels as determined by psychometric assessment group Open Psychometrics. The participants scored 2% below the average for psychopathy and 16.7% below average for narcissism, however the scores for Machievellism were 3.6% higher. Psychopaths were drawn to crypto apparently, because they “fear missing out on investing rewards that others are experiencing,” and Machiavellians like crypto because “they distrust politicians and government agencies.”
Sellbom said the methodology to link traits such as FOMO to psychopathy was flawed as collecting a sample of both the level of interest in crypto and psychometric results at the same time, from the same person only once, is “pretty much uninformative”, adding the conclusions the researchers reached “cannot be supported in the simple way that they are presenting.” Discussing the limitations of their work, the researchers said that whilst they gauged participant interest in investing in stocks, bonds or crypto, the study could have set a control variable by measuring their intention of engaging in those types of investments.
The authors of the study are Brett Martin, Professor of Marketing QUT; Dr. Di Wang, Senior Lecturer at the QUT School of Advertising and Marketing; Jun Yao, Senior Lecturer in Marketing Macquarie University; Carolyn Strong, Professor of Marketing and Strategy Cardiff University; and Polymeros Chrysochou, Professor of Marketing Aarhus University. Given the authors' background in marketing and advertising, it seems possible they would understand how to frame the results of a study in a way to appeal to the mass media.