The Psychology of Superstar Sex Predators

Machiavellians, meanwhile, believe that the best way to interact with others is to tell them what they want to hear. Their manipulative default can lead to a pattern of continually deceiving colleagues and friends, which may explain why a Machiavellian personality would engage in sexual harassment or pursue short-term sexual encounters. They simply believe they are too cunning to get caught.
When abusers are unmasked, they often seek to deflect blame. Claiming to be suffering from a disorder such as “sexual addiction,” or checking into a rehabilitation clinic for “treatment,” as Weinstein has reportedly done, fits with a classic Machiavellian response.
If the allegations pan out, Weinstein would be an extreme example of a “dark triad” abuser. But this combination of character traits is not all that rare. In fact, powerful predators might be lurking around the nearest water cooler right now. According to a 1994 survey of federal employees in the US, cited in the “dark triad” study, 44% of female workers, and 19% of male workers, reported being sexually harassed on the job within the two previous years.
And, as the authors of the 2016 study remind us, sexual harassment is not always about trying to secure sex. Rather, psychological drives – including the need to boost one’s sense of self-esteem, attractiveness, or masculinity – may be driving predators’ abuse of power in dominating or degrading others.
What may be particularly relevant to the Weinstein case, whatever the outcome, is that Hollywood is itself a bubble of narcissistic power. Psychologists could argue that this feature explains the blindness some have demonstrated toward the alleged depraved behavior of one of their colleagues.
Sexual harassment is the immediate focus of the Weinstein case, as it should be, given the severity of the alleged crimes and the distress caused to the victims. But for psychologists seeking to understand the apparent nexus of success and abuse, Weinstein’s apparent downfall is just the tip of an analytic iceberg.

Copyright: Project Syndicate 2017 – The Psychology of Superstar Sex Predators

Sharing is caring!

Next page

Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com