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Narcissistic, conspiracy theorist and victimizing men: a study shows that ‘cryptobros’ exist | Technology

Narcissistic, conspiracy theorist and victimizing men: a study shows that ‘cryptobros’ exist | Technology
Narcissistic, conspiracy theorist and victimizing men: a study shows that ‘cryptobros’ exist | Technology

Investing in cryptocurrencies or digital currencies has become popular in recent years. However, their ownership has not spread equally throughout society. In internet culture it has even been dubbed cryptobros the loudest group of crypto investors: a confusing mix of male characters, propagandists, arrogant. In 2022, a group of researchers from the universities of Toronto (Canada) and Miami (USA) decided to analyze what cryptocurrency investors were really like: they surveyed 2,001 American adults and 30% of those surveyed owned digital currencies. And the psychological traits of crypto investors coincided with the researchers’ hypothesis: they believe in conspiracies, support political extremism and present the so-called dark personality traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy and sadism). The results are published this Wednesday in the scientific journal Plos One.

Internet memes had already intuited that this set of traits defined the so-called cryptobros. Originally, the researchers did not have this stereotypical concept in mind, but the result is very close to the popular idea. “Perhaps it is a funny coincidence that our findings seem to somewhat support the idea of cryptobro“We’re not going to be able to do this for a long time,” says Shane Littrell, a professor at the University of Toronto and one of the co-authors. His initial intention was to find out what distinguished cryptocurrency holders, whether they were really “psychologically non-normative” and “politically unconventional” people. “This area of ​​financial investment has grown in popularity quite quickly in recent years, so we were curious to know why some people are attracted to it and others are not,” Littrell explains via email.

The variables most associated with who invests in cryptocurrencies are belief in conspiracy theories, dark personality traits, support for extremist groups, higher-than-average income, feelings of victimhood, and more frequent use of alternative social media platforms and fringe media. Other characteristics that strongly predict who owns cryptocurrencies are being male, a tendency to argue, and an aversion to authoritarianism. Of the long list of characteristics that serve to predict cryptocurrency ownership—such as religiosity, the possibility of ever running for public office, or age—one of the best predictors of whether an individual will not own cryptocurrencies is being female.

“So-called dark personality traits are associated with non-normative attitudes,” Littrell says. “For example, previous research has found that the degree to which a person engages in risky financial behaviors, such as gambling and risky investing in the stock market, can be predicted by levels of certain dark personality traits such as narcissism or psychopathy. In many cases, cryptocurrencies are an inherently high-risk financial investment, so it makes sense that traits associated with risky financial behavior in general would also be present in this type.”

By Telegram of 8kun

Alternative news sources are also another key predictor of cryptocurrency investors: “One result I found interesting is that cryptocurrency investors are more likely to get their news from secondary social media sources like Telegram, Truth Social, and Reddit, and less likely to seek information from traditional, credible sources. I’m not sure, but I think our study may be one of the first to examine this connection,” explains Littrell, who adds that this type of behavior may be linked to underestimating the risk involved in using this type of currency.

“Cryptocurrency owners may have a more distorted perception of the risks involved in this type of investment because they seem to prefer less reliable sources of information,” he adds. The most commonly used sources of information by crypto investors are Telegram, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter (the survey was conducted before the network was renamed X), blogs and 8kun, the anonymous forum originally known as 4chan. The least likely sources were Facebook and online newspapers.

The research does not claim that crypto investors are like this, only that the percentage of people who define themselves with this type of traits in this group is especially notable. The individuals analyzed showed a varied interest in the political right and left, which made it difficult to assign them a specific ideological side. This study has focused on knowing what crypto holders are more likely to be like, but not, for example, whether there is a difference between those who opt for bitcoin, the most traditional cryptocurrency, or newer, more unstable modalities.

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