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Why Superman Appeals To People With Dark Triad Personality Traits  

Jacob Shelton
1.1k views 12 items

Psychology department members of Marshall University conducted a study and learned people who exhibit narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellian egomania - the dark triad traits - tend to connect with Superman. This finding might sound counterintuitive, though. How could people with dark triad traits appreciate the DC Comics superhero? He represents the ultimate wholesome ideal.

With his raw strength, Superman is one of the most powerful beings in the fictional DC universe. Plus, scores of people admire him. How could any narcissist not respect the Kryptonian? He's their role model. And, indeed, he could've used his powers for evil.

If Superman is your favorite fictional character, you may appear more egotistical than you think. Certain dark triad examples may also apply to you directly.

Everyone Adores Him
Everyone Adores Him is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Why Superman Appeals To People With Dark Triad Personality Traits
Photo: Batman V. Superman/Warner Bros.

Almost everyone in the universe loves Superman. He saves the world countless times and is an all-around great guy. While the Man of Steel earns the public's admiration through his unselfish acts of derring-do, people with dark triad traits typically want adoration despite sometimes not deserving it.

They crave attention because they feel they're owed popularity. Rather than try and earn attention through good deeds, like Superman, narcissists usually act out to make an impression.

He's Attractive
He's Attractive is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Why Superman Appeals To People With Dark Triad Personality Traits
Photo: Man Of Steel/Warner Bros.

Even if you don't love Superman's classically handsome appearance, you have to admit he's a good-looking guy. His square-jawed physicality holds an undeniable allure, but in his Clark Kent guise, Kal-El of Krypton goes out of his way to hide his appeal with huge glasses, a stooped posture, and a dweeby persona.

Narcissists don't often downplay their looks, though. They flaunt their attractive features, hoping to garner attention, love, or gifts.

He's Incredibly Powerful
He's Incredibly Powerful is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Why Superman Appeals To People With Dark Triad Personality Traits
Photo: Superman II/Warner Bros.

Though Superman uses his extraordinary powers for good, people with dark triad traits likely feel excited about using those powers for manipulation. If the Earth's yellow sun powered them to ludicrous levels like Superman, it's improbable these super fans would use them as unselfishly as Smallville's hometown hero.

A narcissist, psychopath, or Machiavellian would probably use their otherworldly abilities to fulfill their ambitions until they grew bored.


He Can Fly
He Can Fly is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Why Superman Appeals To People With Dark Triad Personality Traits
Photo: Superman/Warner Bros.

Superman can leap tall buildings with a single bound, casually break the sound barrier, and even cruise through outer space without technological assistance. An expert at in-air navigation, the Man of Steel never has to worry about traffic - the world is his oyster. For someone with dark triad traits, this sort of ability would prove intoxicating.

The ability to fly would place them above everyone physically and metaphorically; others would appear comparatively small and unimportant. A flying narcissist might believe no rules of physics, not even gravity, could inhibit them.