Just how evil are you? A new test will give you a scientific answer.



Word formation

Change the word in CAPITALS to fill in the blanks.


As most of us have already learned the hard way, there are a lot of different kinds of jerks in the world. There are thin-skinned narcissists. Backstabbing go-getters. 1. ………. [MANIPULATE] drama queens. I could go on. And research suggests that toxic, morals-challenged types are over-represented in the business world. If you’re an entrepreneur, you unfortunately are probably going to come across quite a few of them.

But as diverse as this rogue’s gallery might seem, science claims all these nasty personality types actually boil down to a trio of unpleasant 2. …….. [PERSON] traits. These are often called the dark triad, which includes narcissism (inflated self-regard), Machiavellianism (3. …………. [WILLING] to use others for your own ends), and psychopathy (lack of empathy).

Different people score higher or lower on each of these traits, mixing and matching various types and degrees of 4. ……. [NASTY] into their own personal blend of 5. …….. [TOXIC]. Which might remind you of something else. 6. ……… [INTELLIGENT], too, is made up of different components, such as verbal skill, logic, and spatial reasoning. Each of us has some blend of these abilities, and yet science has long claimed to be able to distill these skills down into a single number — your IQ.

Now, research claims scientists managed to do something similar for evilness.

Meet the D factor (…)

The psychologists behind the D factor define it as “the general tendency to maximize one’s individual utility — disregarding, accepting, or 7. ………. [MALEVOLENT] provoking disutility for others — accompanied by beliefs that serve as 8. ………..[JUSTIFY].” Or, in plain language, your willingness to step on others to get what you want.

With this quintessence of 9. ……… [AWFUL] nailed down, the next step was to figure out how to measure it, just as we measured the g factor, or general intelligence factor, in IQ tests. Apparently, there’s been a breakthrough. (…)

“The D factor indicates how likely a person is to engage in behavior associated with one or more of these dark traits,” (…)

How evil are you? This test will tell you. If your interest is piqued, then I have good news for you. The scientists have helpfully set up a user-friendly webpage where you can take either a short or longer, more in-depth version of this IQ test for evilness for yourself. (…) you might be surprised by your results. (…)

 (…)the test can start out as a fascinating way to put a hard number on a slippery, 10. ………. [DESTRUCT], and all too common suite of traits.

In order to read the whole article/check your answers, go to: https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/scientists-have-developed-iq-like-test-evilness

Key: 1. manipulative; 2. personality; 3. willingness; 4. nastiness; 5. toxicity; 6. intelligence; 7. malevolently; 8. justifications; 9. awfulness; 10. destructive



  • rogue – someone who behaves in a dishonest or criminal way
  • malevolently – in a way that shows a desire to harm other people
  • to nail down – to decide the details of
  • ax – a tool consisting of a heavy iron or steel blade at the end of a long wooden handle, used for cutting wood
  • to wield – to handle or use (a weapon, tool, etc.)
  • elevated – high
  • to excel – to do extremely well
  • suite – set


Practice makes perfect

Read the article and decide which is the best title for it: 


1. The Ethics of Creating Artificial Evil

2. Unmasking Evil: Exploring the Roots of Malevolence

3. How to Create a Perfectly Sinister Computer Character


Key: 2


Complete the gaps in the dialogues below with the words in bold:


nail down             made up (x2)        traits           jerk

boils down to                  malevolent            excel


1.A: It seems like this argument …………. a difference in values.

B: Yes, we have different opinions on what’s right and wrong.


2. A: I’ve always admired your leadership skills, Sarah. It’s one of your best …….. .

B: Thank you, David. I try to lead by example.


3. A: What is the human body ……… of?

B: The human body is ……… of various organs, tissues, and cells.


4. A: I couldn’t believe how ……….. my boss was being towards me.

B: That’s terrible. Have you talked to HR about it?


5. A: I need to ……… the details for our presentation tomorrow.

B: No problem, I’ll make sure everything is ready for you.


6. A: You really ……… in math, don’t you?

B: Yes, it’s always been my favorite subject.


7. A: Why did you have to be such a …….. to her?

B: I know, I shouldn’t have said those things. I’ll apologize to her.


Key: 1.boils down to; 2. traits; 3. made up; 4. malevolent; 5. nail down; 6. excel; 7. jerk


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The psychology of evil

Philip Zimbardo