My research, “Improving the Assessment of Dark Personalities and the Prediction of Outcomes”, enables me to continue meaningfully exploring individual differences and coping. My systematic review will synthesise the quality of existing dark personality measures, including their ability to capture individual differences in dark traits and facets. I will learn to perform novel network analyses, which will help shed light upon the interconnections of dark traits, as currently measured. Finally, I will explore the convergent validity of specific dark traits and investigate how the individual traits may be utilised to predict stress/coping and performance in experimental settings.
What is your ideal Research outcome?
There is a gap in the literature for a better representation of narcissism and the better distinction of Machiavellianism from psychopathy in measurements, along with the need to systematically interpret what other traits could be considered in a dark personality assessment. Furthermore, personalities labelled as dark have been associated originally with aversive outcomes, and more recently with adaptive results. Such evidence infers dark personality traits are not inherently evil and suggests that it is pertinent to acknowledge how the context plays a role in how a trait will manifest behaviourally. There is much food for thought; how can psychologists draw the line between light and dark traits? Is this dichotomous thinking appropriate? There is less known about whether dark traits may benefit those beyond the individual. For example, beyond adaptiveness (like leadership emergence) for the individual, can dark traits be favourable for a group? Ideally, the outcomes of my research will help to shed light and build the narrative towards answering some of these questions to improve the assessment of dark personality traits and the prediction of outcomes.
Dr. Kostas Papageorgiou, Dr. Mihalis Doumas and Dr. Tanja Gerlach.
Why did you choose this PhD and why at Queen's?
I completed my Psychology BSc and Clinical Health Psychology MSc at Queen`s. My BSc Thesis, "Predicting Achievement in University Students through Personality Traits and Emotional Intelligence", fuelled my eagerness for individual differences and academic research. My MSc Dissertation, "Experiences of Living with a Companion Cat: A Qualitative exploration during a Global Pandemic", focused upon perceptions of how a cat may influence human wellbeing, including stress and coping during regulated confinement. The experience consolidated my drive to undertake further research and my interest in stress and coping. I choose my current Ph.D. because it provides me with the opportunity to follow on from my previous research areas, delve deeply into personality and coping, and expand my repertoire of research methods and analysis techniques. I am enthusiastic to continue working with Queen`s due to the activeness of the psychology researchers in investigating the areas of personality and wellbeing. I am keen to continue being part of the Queen`s family because my experience so far has been brilliant - even through times of passionate career strikes and the unforeseen coronavirus.
How have you been supported at Queen's?
I have been supported with patience and encouragement from the staff at Queen`s. My main form of support has been through impressive and kind individual supervisors. Students seeking support for certain skills can always find an individual or method at Queen`s - if they ask!
In what ways have you developed at Queen's?
I have developed strong academic written and verbal communication skills, data collection techniques, and statistical ability at Queen`s, attaining a prize for my BSc Thesis and placing first in my MSc cohort. Queen`s has also helped to consolidate my self-discipline and time-management skills and my ability to commit to work to a high standard over a significant period, as I learned to manage to work effectively from home during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. I am looking forward to greater development through my Ph.D. with Queen`s. In particular, enhancing my statistics skills through learning to perform network analyses in R.
Can you describe the postgraduate community in the School and at Queen's?
While everyone is on an individual journey and conducting diverse research projects, we all can connect through shared spaces both in-person and online. The mentorship scheme is brilliant for connecting novice and experienced students. The community provides a safe space for all questions.
Where do you hope your PhD will lead?
My Ph.D. journey will hopefully lead me to a career in research and lecturing. From 2017 I have tutored A-Level Psychology, and as a Ph.D. student, I have become involved as a postgraduate teaching assistant, helping to demonstrate undergraduate classes and mark undergraduate coursework. Doctoral research appeared ideal to continue my academic and professional development towards future research and teaching.