Recent Liverpool Hope University graduate, Ms Amy Jones, and former member of LHU Psychology Department, Dr Minna Lyons, were awarded last night the Ig Nobel Prize for Psychology in a ceremony at Harvard University. The prize, awarded annually and handed out by actual Nobel Prize winners, is given to researchers whose publications are deemed to be both funny and thought-provoking. Amy and Minna received the award for work published on the Journal of Personality and Individual differences where they examined the personality characteristics of nocturnal people (Jonason, P. K., Jones, A., & Lyons, M. (2013). Creatures of the night: Chronotypes and the Dark Triad traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 55, 538-541) – in other words, the owls, those among us who do not like going to sleep early.P1000285

The authors of “Creatures of the night” set out to test whether individuals with a nocturnal chronotype – people who prefer evening-time activities to doing stuff in the morning, and are more alert later in the day than earlier – tended to display a personality type that is consistent with the so-called dark triad. The dark triad personality triumvirate of psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellanism (listen to our Podcast on the subject for more information! https://soundcloud.com/liverpool-hope-university/all-in-the-mind-psychology-and) describes individuals who tend to be manipulative and self-centred. The authors postulated that people of a dark triadic disposition would be more likely to strive in the dark hours of the night, when morning-types are ripe for the dupe, and the low light favours the shadier activities (although you should always turn the light on before putting your hand in the cookie jar).

Indeed, after testing 263 male and female participants online, Jones and colleagues confirmed that night owls were more likely to be associated with the darker end of the dark triad spectrum, especially Machiavellanism, secondary psychopathy, and exploitive narcissism. Their conclusion, grounded in evolutionary psychology, is that those with darker personalities tend to specialize in night-time activities to optimize their chances of success.

More about the Ig Nobel prizes can be learned here, at http://www.improbable.com/ig/.

By the way, the photo in this post is totally unrelated. I took it in the Lake District. Somewhere near Keswick.



About Davide Bruno

Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University
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