AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: behavior

Malevolent Personality Traits Come in a Package

Credit: emeraldschell from Flickr

Nearly a century ago, Charles Spearman found that “people who score highly in one type of intelligence test typically also score highly in other types of intelligence tests.” As a result, he concluded that there is a “general factor of intelligence.” Based on new research from “Ingo Zettler, Professor of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen, and two German colleagues, Morten Moshagen from Ulm University and Benjamin E. Hilbig from the University of Koblenz-Landau,” a similar “general factor” can be used when measuring a person’s “dark core of personality.”

The “dark personality” traits that the researches studied are egoism, machiavellianism, moral disengagement, narcissism, psychological entitlement, psychopathy, sadism, self-interest, spitefulness. To carry out their study, the researches asked more than 2,500 people to what extent they disagreed or agreed with statements such as ‘It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there.,’ or ‘It is sometimes worth a little suffering on my part to see others receive the punishment they deserve.’ The study’s results painted a clear picture.

The research showed that the aforementioned “dark personality” traits are all based upon the same tendency. Therefore, a person with one “dark personality” trait will be more likely to also possesses many others. This “common denominator of all dark traits” is dubbed the “D-factor.” More specifically, the “D-factor” is “the general tendency to maximize one’s individual utility — disregarding, accepting, or malevolently provoking disutility for others — , accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications.”

In the future, an assessment one’s “D-factor” may come in handy for everyone from therapists treating patients, to school teachers handling young children, to employers hiring for jobs.

Credit : affen ajlfe from Flickr

The “Social” Bacteria

800px-M._xanthus_development        The Myxococcus xanthus is a bacterium found in soil that scientist identify as a “social” bacteria. Organized into multi-cellular and three-dimensional structures made of thousands of cells, the bacterium works together by hunting for food and surviving under difficult conditions. They form interesting structures and help each other survive, which are fascinating points of study for scientists who have been researching E. Coli (which has medical significance and influence) in test tubes. However scientists believe that this behavior in test tubes is obviously not as revealing as bacteria behavior in a social or spacial structure that they find in Myxococcus xanthus.

       Myxococcus xanthus eats other microbes and is therefore classified as “predatory”. The structural complex that the thousands of cells form interests scientists, because it is self-made and because it can hunt, kill, and digest various different microbes. By identifying the mechanisms that help the bacteria achieve their multi-cellular behaviors, scientists believe that this will answer questions about how individual cells break their symmetry to organize into these complicated many-celled compositions, teaching scientists about the evolution of multi-cellularity. “The most primitive form of life is single-cell life,” Igoshin, a scientific investigator, says. “The next step up would be going from single cells to multicellular organisms. These bacteria are somewhat in the middle.”

      The bacterium is capable of adopting various forms (ripples, segments, fruiting bodies) in order to hunt for food successfully as a unit and live for a long time together. These capabilities give researchers insight into designing future antibiotics by understanding its functions and methods, especially in embryonic development and other manifestations of this kind. 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Skip to toolbar