The Light Triad

Do you tend to see the best in people, or assume that others are out to get you? And are you always honest in conversation, or do you prefer to turn on the charm?

Your answers to these questions partly determine how much of an “everyday saint” you are, according to a group of psychologists who’ve come up with a new way of looking at beneficent personality traits. In order to qualify, it helps if you see humans, and humanity at large, as fundamentally good—and treat them that way too.

Two decades ago psychologists came up with the now infamous “dark triad” of personality traits to understand why some people don’t think twice before cheating on a test or picking on someone weaker than them. Since then researchers have seized upon this trio—namely narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy—investigating how they relate to a variety of things including workplace success, relationship troubles, and even the seven deadly sins.

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