Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology: Clinical-Counseling Psychology
Raymond M. Bergner
While philosophers and psychologists continue to debate the existence of free will without reaching any consensus, recent attention has shifted to the matter of the consequences of belief in free will, or belief in the alternative, determinism. Proponents of the latter position argue that human behavior is the result of causal forces, which implies a lack of autonomy in decision-making and inevitability (Paulhus & Carey, 2011). Recent research has found consequences of belief in determinism that include the promotion of undesirable behavior and undermining of moral behavior (Vohs & Schooler, 2008), impulsive and selfish responses demonstrated through aggression (Baumeister, Masicampo, & DeWall, 2009), and a diminished ability to learn from negative emotions (Stillman & Baumeister, 2010). Belief in determinism may be a belief that allows some to abrogate moral responsibility, which may facilitate other antisocial tendencies. Objectification (i.e., seeing and ultimately treating a person as an object in a manner that dismisses that persons’ humanity) may be one such tendency. To my knowledge, no research has examined the association between belief in determinism, interpersonal objectification, and the Dark Triad (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). In the present research, four questionnaires measured participants’ belief in free will, determinism, propensity to objectify others, narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Results indicated a statistically significant link between belief in determinism, interpersonal objectification, and the Dark Triad personality traits. A general mediation model demonstrated that interpersonal objectification mediated the relation between belief in determinism and the Dark Triad personality traits. These findings suggest that maladaptive ideologies and maladaptive personality traits share a common theme of objectifying others. Implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
Boros, Rachel, "The Dark Triad Predicted by Belief in Determinism and Objectification" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 1239.