skip to content

Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  Nikolay Petrov


  Psychology, St Edmund's College

  PhD thesis: Finding the good through the evil: An In-depth Geo-Exploration of the Dark Triad in the Age of
  Social Media



Research interests:

  1. Personality
  2. Natural Language Processing and AI
  3. Statistics (Psychometrics, Mixed-level modelling, Meta-analyses)
  4. Decision-making

The first goal of the proposed research programme is to use social media data to capture a personality profile that is directly related to societal outcomes of interest, such as reducing morally questionable, or downright reprehensible, behaviours (e.g. violence, crime, corruption, censorship, propaganda and political or ideological extremism). Such a personality profile is the trait triage of narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism – the so-called Dark Triad (DT). Upon establishing a reliable algorithm for capturing DT scores from a social media profile alone, the second aim of the research programme will be to use this information to create both theoretical and applied impact: establish normative patterns for DT traits over different geographies, identify geographical hotspots where DT-related interventions might be most effective, and study personality-driven migration patterns by testing the person-environment fit hypothesis in the context of DT traits.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?

My research interests seem to neatly capitalize on two things I find innately inspiring: 1) technology and statistics and 2) why humans do the things they do. For me, each of these two interests alone is either unimaginative and dull (in case of 1) or ill-informed (in the case 2), but put the two together and all of a sudden the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.