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Ninja Pierre Debusschere Robbie Spencer
Ninja in the Spring 2015 issue of DazedPhotography Pierre Debusschere; styling Robbie Spencer

Got tattoos? Science says you’re aggressive and rebellious

A new report claims that people with ink exhibit higher levels of these characteristics

Last month we learned that if you like wearing black, you’re more likely to be associated with “good” personality traits such as confidence, intelligence and sexiness. But what about if you’ve got tattoos? 

A new report compiled by six academics from psychology faculties around the world suggests that people who have gone under the tattoo needle demonstrate higher levels of aggression and rebelliousness than those who haven’t.

378 adults from London where asked to gauge their own measures of these traits, along with the number of tattoos they have. “Of this sample, 25.7 per cent possessed at least one tattoo, with no sex difference in the distribution of tattoo status. We found that tattooed adults had significantly higher reactive rebelliousness, anger, and verbal aggression than non-tattooed adults,” reads the report. 

Embedded within the public consciousness is a perception that tattoos are synonymous with more negative personality traits. This is thanks, perhaps, to the skinhead subculture of 1970s Britain who favoured heavily-inked skin and garnered media attention because of their association with gang culture and football hooliganism. 

That said, the writers of this report go on to say that when it came to “proactive rebelliousness, physical aggression, and hostility,” there was little difference between those with and without tattoos. So though there’s a element of truth to this age-old stereotype, on the whole, it’s archaic and outdated – particularly if your tattoo is on your hip, and resembles a butterfly.