ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (7): 850-866.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00850

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles    

The hierarchies of good and evil personality traits

JIAO Liying1,2, XU Yan1(), TIAN Yi3, GUO Zhen1, ZHAO Jinzhe1   

  1. 1Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Psychology Education (Beijing Normal University), Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences, Beijing 100036, China
  • Received:2021-06-24 Published:2022-07-25 Online:2022-05-16
  • Contact: XU Yan
  • Supported by:
    General program of National Natural Science Foundation of China(31671160);major program of National Social Science Foundation of China(19ZDA363)


The question of good and evil is an important topic in people's social life. What is the first information that people care about when they perceive others, and do they weigh different types of good and evil traits? Based on the perspective of personality psychology, this study explored the issue through four studies. Firstly, the paper explored the differences between good and evil when the moral concept of personality is activated, and then examined the differences in the core degree of different types of good and evil traits by using representativeness, desirability, the scope of trait, and importance as the measurement indicators. The results show that the hierarchies of good and evil personality traits are embodied in two aspects: (1) the hierarchy between good and evil personalities, in the moral category of personality, there exists the priority effect of the good personality; (2) the hierarchies within good and evil personalities, The core of good from the inside to out is: conscientiousness and integrity, benevolence and amicability, tolerance and magnanimity, altruism and dedication; the core of evil from the inside to out is: atrociousness and mercilessness, faithlessness and treacherousness, calumniation and circumvention, mendacity and hypocrisy. The study helps to further understand the Chinese view of good and evil, and provides a new way of thinking for the exploration of the field of good and evil.

Key words: good and evil personalities, personality structure, hierarchy, scope of trait, Chinese culture