BEST OF THE WEB: Narcissists, psychopaths, and manipulators are more likely to engage in ‘virtuous victim signaling’ – study

New study links virtue signaling to "Dark Triad" traits. Being accused of "virtue signaling" might sound nice to the uninitiated, but spend much time on social media and you know that it's actually an accusation of insincerity. Virtue signalers are, essentially, phonies and showoffs — folks who adopt opinions and postures solely to garner praise and sympathy or whose good deeds are tainted by their need for everyone to see just how good they are. Combined with a culture that says only victimhood confers a right to comment on certain issues, it's a big factor in online pile-ons and one that certainly contributes to social media platforms being such a bummer sometimes. So: Here's some fun new research looking at "the consequences and predictors of emitting signals of victimhood and virtue," published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology....

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How does aging shape our narrative identity?

It's not just our flesh and bones that change as we get older. In 2010, Dan McAdams wrote a biography about George W. Bush analyzing the former American president using the tools of personality psychology. It was, in his own words, a flop. "I probably had three readers," McAdams laughs. But an editor from The Atlantic happened to read it, and asked McAdams to write a similar piece analyzing Donald Trump. It was a hit, attracting 3.5 million readers. "So something good came out of it," McAdams tells me. He used the case in class. And, he explains, he has always been interested in politics anyways. "I'm kind of a political junkie going back into the '60s. That's my autobiographical reasoning." Autobiographical reasoning gets far more sophisticated as you age. By autobiographical reasoning, McAdams means finding and attaching meaning using...

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Discovering the link between gender identity and peer contagion

The following is excerpted, with permission, from Abigail Shrier's newly published book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, Regnery Publishing (June 30, 2020) 276 pages. In 2016, Lisa Littman, ob-gyn turned public health researcher, and mother of two, was scrolling through social media when she noticed a statistical peculiarity: Several adolescents, most of them girls, from her small town in Rhode Island had come out as transgender — all from within the same friend group. "With the first two announcements, I thought, 'Wow, that's great,'" Dr. Littman said, a light New Jersey accent tweaking her vowels. Then came announcements three, four, five, and six. Dr. Littman knew almost nothing about gender dysphoria — her research interests had been confined to reproductive health: abortion stigma and contraception. But she knew enough to recognize that the numbers were much higher...

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How addressing so-called ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘unwitting racism’ could be the first step to brainwashing

The idea that all white people are unconsciously racist and need training to correct this has gained momentum. But doesn't this colonisation of thought processes take us into dangerous territory? These days we are told that, unless you can prove otherwise, you are presumed to be a racist. This is why Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer announced that he was going to introduce unconscious bias training for all the officials in his party. And just to demonstrate that he meant business, Starmer declared, "I'm going to lead from the top on this and do that training first." No doubt Harry and Meghan - otherwise known as the Prince and Princess of Sussex - would approve of Starmer's actions. Not long ago, the royal couple gave a little sermon about the need to uncover your unconscious bias to a carefully...

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