UTEP Researcher Links Need for Drama With Manipulative Behavior
By Leonard Martinez
The phrase “drama queen” implies that only females are prone to being overly dramatic.
That gender stereotype is what led Scott Frankowski, a doctoral student in UTEP’s Department of Psychology, and his colleagues to develop a test to measure a person’s need for drama (NFD).
The research was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences in spring 2016.
“We know it’s not true that women have more drama, so we developed a scale to test need for drama for a (statistics) course,” Frankowski said. The test measures interpersonal manipulation, impulsive outspokenness and perceived victimhood. The test also provides insight into some people’s dramatic behavior online and in person, according to the published research.
Two NFD groups were tested – one using samples from UTEP students and one using samples from across the U.S. “With the UTEP sample, we have a different demographic here,” Frankowski said. “It’s mostly Latino and it’s a lot younger than our other samples.”
The UTEP and national studies both found that young people are a little higher on the need-for-drama scale than the older participants. The studies found that there is almost an equal number of men who have a need for drama as women. There were a few surprising results.
“We didn’t expect the (NFD) trait to be so manipulative,” Frankowski said. “It correlates really strongly with the traits we call the dark triad – psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism. These are really anti-social traits. These people are seeing themselves as victims a lot in order to manipulate others. It’s not really surprising, but we didn’t think you’d always be using that to influence others and manipulate others.”
UTEP Psychology Professor Osvaldo F. Morera, Ph.D., said the research and work done by Frankowski and the other students on this project “set a standard for what could happen from a class project.”
Morera said publication of students’ research helps the students add to their curriculum vitae.
“Being able to publish one’s research is important for all graduate students, as it shows potential employers that the students can develop a research idea, design a study to answer the question, carry out the study and then communicate what was done to a scientific audience.”
How much drama do you need?
Your score will determine how much drama you need.
A score less than 13 points indicates a very low need for drama
A score between 13 and 16 points indicates a low need for drama
A score between 17 and 20 points indicates an average need for drama
A score between 21 and 24 points indicates a high need for drama
A score higher than 25 indicates a very high need for drama