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The Dark Triad (DT: sub-clinical narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy) is argued to facilitate a male short-term mating strategy. The trait constellation in women and its potential adaptive benefits has received less attention. We examined the prevalence and correlates of DT in a large community sample (N = 899). Despite finding expected sex differences in Sensation-seeking, Competitiveness, strength of sexual motivation, recreational sex behaviors and neuroticism, we found no sex difference in DT scores. Furthermore, within-sex multiple regressions identified the same predictors of DT score with similar weightings. Moderation analysis confirmed regression equations did not differ by sex. We propose that focus on DT as a male adaptation to short-term mating has been overstated and that men's greater preference for casual sexual encounters is not explained by DT traits.
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The Dark Triad: Beyond a ‘male’ mating strategy
Gregory Louis Carter
, Anne C. Campbell
, Steven Muncer
University of Durham, Psychology Department, UK
University of Teesside, Psychology Department, UK
article info
Article history:
Received 23 May 2013
Received in revised form 29 August 2013
Accepted 3 September 2013
Available online 27 September 2013
Dark Triad
Sex differences
Big Five
The Dark Triad (DT: sub-clinical narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy) is argued to facilitate a
male short-term mating strategy. The trait constellation in women and its potential adaptive benefits has
received less attention. We examined the prevalence and correlates of DT in a large community sample
(N= 899). Despite finding expected sex differences in Sensation-seeking, Competitiveness, strength of
sexual motivation, recreational sex behaviors and neuroticism, we found no sex difference in DT scores.
Furthermore, within-sex multiple regressions identified the same predictors of DT score with similar
weightings. Moderation analysis confirmed regression equations did not differ by sex. We propose that
focus on DT as a male adaptation to short-term mating has been overstated and that men’s greater pref-
erence for casual sexual encounters is not explained by DT traits.
Ó2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that short-term
mating strategies may be more adaptive for males than females.
This view is based on the higher parental investment of females
which constrains their reproductive output and that of monoga-
mous partners. Polygynous males can attain high reproductive
success by inseminating and abandoning multiple females. Polyg-
ynous male inclinations have been widely-documented (e.g. Sch-
mitt et al., 2012). Women report a less promiscuous socio-sexual
orientation, concordant with their lower fitness variance, obligate
parental investment and short-term mating costs (Buss & Schmitt,
Not all men can successfully pursue polygyny, however. It is
high-risk and competitive, requiring individuals to seize sexual
opportunities while avoiding emotional engagement. It has been
suggested that the Dark Triad (DT) personality (narcissism, Machi-
avellianism and psychopathy) is well-suited to this challenge
(Jonason & Kavanagh, 2010; Jonason, Li, & Buss, 2010; Jonason,
Valentine, Li, & Harbeson, 2011). DT is associated with promiscuity
and desire for extra-pair sex. DT men report more lifetime sex part-
ners and hold less restrictive socio-sexual attitudes (Jonason, Li,
Webster, & Schmitt, 2009). DT personality is also attractive to
women, independent of a man’s physical appearance (Carter,
Campbell, & Muncer, 2013). DT is associated with deceptive sexual
tactics, including love-feigning (Jonason et al., 2009). It is
correlated with mate-poaching (Schmitt & Buss, 2001) and mate-
abandonment (Jonason, Li, & Buss, 2010; Schmitt & Buss, 2001).
Recently, however, the view that short-term mating confers few
benefits on women has been challenged. Short term mating can
secure fertilization by men of high genetic quality (Smith, 1984).
Extra-pair mating can provide an assessment of alternative mates’
quality (Greiling & Buss, 2000) and increase the genetic diversity of
offspring (Fossoy, Johnsen, & Lifjeld, 2008). Nevertheless, the align-
ment of DT with short-term strategies often considered more
typical of men has resulted in less attention on the prevalence
and correlates of DT in women. We address this in the present arti-
cle. Research on DT has reported higher male scores for DT (e.g.
Jonason & Webster, 2010). However, most studies use undergrad-
uate samples (e.g. Jonason et al., 2009). The first aim of the present
study is to examine the sex difference in a national sample.
Our second aim concerns correlates of DT in both sexes. In male
and female undergraduates, correlations of similar magnitude have
been reported between DT and measures assessing standards for
long-term mates (Jonason et al., 2011), altruism (Jonason, Li, & Tei-
cher, 2010) and specific social influence tactics (Jonason & Web-
ster, 2010). Sex differences have been found in correlations with
sexual tactics or game-playing love styles (Jonason & Buss, 2012;
Jonason & Kavanagh, 2010), empathy (Jonason, Lyons, Bethell, &
Ross, 2013), forms of impulsivity (Jones & Paulhus, 2011) and
friendship choices (Jonason & Schmitt, 2012). However, in many
studies, correlations are not disaggregated by sex so we have an
incomplete understanding of whether DT correlates constitute dif-
ferent ‘profiles’ in men and women.
In the present study, we compare DT profiles of women and
men across three major domains: mating style (Importance of
0191-8869/$ - see front matter Ó2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author. Postal address: Psychology Department, Durham
University, DH13LE, UK. Tel.: +44 7941879935
E-mail address: (G.L. Carter).
Personality and Individual Differences 56 (2014) 159–164
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Personality and Individual Differences
journal homepage:
Romance, Attachment, and Sex in relationships; Recreational Sex-
ual Behaviors), lifestyle orientation (Sensation-seeking; Impulsiv-
ity; Competitiveness) and broader personality (Big Five). We
have briefly reviewed evidence that, in men, DT is associated with
short-term mating strategy markers. This strategy is thought to be
mediated by lifestyle and personality characteristics that equip DT
men with the psychological tools necessary for its execution. Be-
low, we consider what is known about these correlates in relation
to short-term mating and DT.
1.1. Lifestyle orientation
It is relatively well-documented that DT is associated with high-
er levels of Sensation-seeking (Emmons, 1991; McHoskey, Worzel,
& Szyarto, 1998). High sensation-seekers (attracted to thrill in the
face of possible risk) rate potential partners as more attractive and
express a stronger desire to date them. They are more inclined to
discount the likelihood that a short-term partner may have sexu-
ally-transmitted diseases and are more likely to engage in unpro-
tected sex (Henderson et al., 2005). Furthermore, impulsivity (a
tendency to act without consideration of long-term consequences)
has been associated with short-term and risky sexual behaviors
(e.g. Khurana et al., 2012). DT also shows association with self-con-
trol levels, future discounting, and dysfunctional impulsivity (Jon-
ason & Tost, 2010; Jones & Paulhus, 2011).
The pursuit of short-term mating involves within-sex competi-
tion for mate access (Daly & Wilson, 1988). A recent study con-
firmed DT is correlated with the adoption of competitive,
assertive, and dominating tactics (Jonason et al., 2011). Forms of
social influence can be dichotomized into ‘hard’ (threatening,
manipulating) and ‘soft’ (charming, ingratiating) tactics. DT is asso-
ciated with both, but more closely with the former. In a money-
allocation task, DT participants were characterized by competitive-
ness, rather than prosociality or individualism (Jonason, Li, & Tei-
cher, 2010).
1.2. Personality
Relationships between DT and Big Five personality constructs
have been well-documented. The most robust finding is the nega-
tive correlation between DT and agreeableness (Paulhus & Wil-
liams, 2002; Vernon, Villani, Vickers, & Harris, 2008; Veselka,
Schermer, & Vernon, 2012). DT (Jonason, Li, & Teicher, 2010), psy-
chopathy (Paulhus & Williams, 2002) and narcissism (Lee & Ash-
ton, 2005; Vernon et al., 2008; Veselka et al., 2012) correlate
positively with extraversion. This combination of high extraversion
and low agreeableness has been proposed to facilitate a short-term
mating style (Jonason et al., 2009). Openness correlates positively
with DT (Jonason, Li, & Teicher, 2010), narcissism and psychopathy
(Paulhus & Williams, 2002), whilst conscientiousness correlates
negatively with DT (Jonason, Li, & Teicher, 2010) Machiavellianism
(Lee & Ashton, 2005), psychopathy (Jakobwitz & Egan, 2006; Paul-
hus & Williams, 2002; Vernon et al., 2008; Veselka et al., 2012) and
narcissism (Jakobwitz & Egan, 2006). Finally, neuroticism corre-
lates negatively with DT composite (Jonason, Li, & Teicher, 2010)
and psychopathy (Paulhus & Williams, 2002), but positively with
Machiavellianism (Jakobwitz & Egan, 2006; Vernon et al., 2008;
Veselka et al., 2012).
Although the constellation of attitudes, behaviors and traits
associated with DT individuals seems characteristic of men and
‘male’ mating strategies, women scoring highly for DT do exist.
The aims of the current study are (1) to examine sex differences
in DT in a large national sample, and (2) determine whether corre-
lates of DT personality (mating style, lifestyle orientation, and Big 5
traits) differ by sex.
2. Method
2.1. Participants
One thousand and three participants were recruited via a mar-
keting company to participate in an online questionnaire. After
dropping non-heterosexual participants (this study being focused
on heterosexual mating attitudes and behaviors), 899 heterosexual
respondents remained. The final sample consisted of 440 females
and 459 males, aged 25–55 (mean = 39.5 years).
2.2. Materials
2.2.1. The Dirty Dozen
The Dirty Dozen (DD) is a twelve-item questionnaire that cre-
ates an overall DT score (Jonason & Webster, 2010). Participants
indicate agreement with statements including ‘I have used deceit
or lied to get my way’. The inventory contains three four-item
sub-scales pertaining to each of narcissism, Machiavellianism,
and psychopathy. The DD has proven reliable, considering its brev-
ity, and had good internal consistency in the present study
= .75).
2.2.2. BFI-10 personality inventory (BFI-10)
The BFI-10 (Rammstedt & John, 2007) is a concise measure used
to assess the Big 5 with two items pertaining to each of Extraver-
sion, Openness, Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Following
the authors’ recommendation, we used a third item to assess
Agreeableness given its relevance to DT. Participants rate how
accurately each descriptor captures their personality. It has been
found valid and reliable (Thalmayer, Saucier, & Eigenhuis, 2011).
2.2.3. Impulsivity and Sensation-Seeking (ImpSS)
The 19-item ImpSS scale from the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Person-
ality Questionnaire (Zuckerman & Kuhlman, 1993) was used. Par-
ticipants answered ‘false’ or ‘true’ to statements such as ‘‘I
usually think about what I am going to do before I do it’’ (Impulsiv-
ity) and ‘‘I’ll try anything once’’ (Sensation-seeking). Two separate
scales were constructed since Impulsivity and Sensation-seeking
have been found to be independent dimensions (Cross, Copping,
& Campbell, 2011). (Alpha values:
= .72 (Impulsivity) and
= .82 (Sensation-seeking)).
2.2.4. Competitiveness
Six items were taken from the Hyper-Competitive Attitude
Scale (Ryckman, Hammer, Kaczor, & Gold, 1990). This scale
= .66) included items such as ‘‘Winning in competitions makes
me feel more powerful as a person’’.
2.2.5. Attitudes towards Romance, Attachment and Sex
Fifteen questions assessing Romance, Attachment, and Sex atti-
tudes were put to participants, who were asked to answer with ref-
erence to their current intimate relationship (or a previous one if
single). For Romance, five items pertained to thoughts about their
partner and desire for union with them (
= .71). For Attachment,
six items pertained to giving and receiving emotional support
= .85). Sexual attitudes were dichotomized into two items
assessing frequency and strength of their sexual desire for their
partner (Sexual Desire (Partner),
= .60), and two assessing fre-
quency and strength of sexual desire for members of the opposite
sex other than their partner (Sexual Desire (Others),
= .70).
2.2.6. Recreational Sexual Behavior
The Laddish Behavior Inventory (Muncer & Campbell, 2012)is
designed to assess exhibitionistic and boisterous behavior typically
160 G.L. Carter et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 56 (2014) 159–164
associated with ‘laddish’ culture. For the current study, eight items
pertaining to sexual behavior were used. The items included: ‘‘I
prefer sex to romance’’ and ‘‘I have cheated on a boyfriend/girl-
friend’’ (full list available on request). This measure, too, had good
internal consistency (
= .76).
2.3. Procedure
Participants were asked to provide their sex, age, and sexual
orientation. They then completed the ‘Dirty Dozen’, BFI-10 person-
ality inventory, ZKPQ Impulsive Sensation-Seeking scale, Romance,
Attachment and Sex scales, Competitiveness scale and Laddish
Sexual Behavior Inventory.
3. Results
To examine sex differences, we used MANOVA with sex as the
independent variable and 14 scale scores as dependent variables.
The multivariate effect of sex was significant, F(13, 742) = 14.75,
p< .001. Univariate descriptive statistics and tests are presented
in Table 1. Strikingly, the sex difference in DT was not significant,
although men scored marginally higher than women, d= 0.12. Be-
cause previous studies have used younger samples, we examined
the sex difference for DT in those respondents aged 30 or under
(n= 188). The result was non-significant, F(1, 186) = 0.01, p= .91.
The bulk of the remaining sex differences replicated those reported
by others. Women scored higher than men on Neuroticism
(d=0.25) and Conscientiousness (d=0.21), whilst men scored
higher on Competitiveness (d= 0.32) and Sensation-seeking
(d= 0.27), with moderate effect sizes. No sex differences were
found for Impulsivity (d= 0.03). The largest effect size was for Sex-
ual Desire Others (d= 0.83) and there was a significant though less
extreme sex difference for Recreational Sexual Behaviors (d= 0.34).
Regarding intimate relationships, men scored significantly higher
than women on Sexual Desire (Partner) (d= 0.37), although men
and women did not differ in feelings of Romance (d=0.12) or
Attachment (d=0.05) toward partners.
We then examined correlations between DT and mating style,
lifestyle orientation and personality variables as a function of sex
(Table 2). The pattern was remarkably consistent across sex. In
neither sex was DT associated with partner-directed Romance,
Attachment or Sexual Desire. However, in both sexes, DT was
positively and significantly correlated with the extra-partner
variables: Sexual Desire Others and Recreational Sexual Behaviors.
In both sexes, DT correlated positively with all three measures of
lifestyle orientation: Impulsivity, Sensation-seeking, and Competi-
tiveness. With regard to the Big Five, DT was associated positively
with Extraversion and negatively with Agreeableness in both
sexes. For women only, DT was negatively correlated with Consci-
entiousness. These results are broadly in keeping with existing lit-
erature on DT and its relationship with other personality
The similarity between the sexes in the direction and magni-
tude of correlations was marked, and suggested DT has similar pre-
dictors in the two sexes. Nonetheless, given the possibility of
different inter-correlations between variables in men and women,
we performed regression analyses separately.
Because age was weakly correlated with DT (r=.07, p= .04),
we controlled for age in the regression analyses by entering it in
the first step, followed by all predictor variables in step two. (A
regression in which age was not controlled resulted in the same
set of significant predictors.) Results are presented in Table 3.
The final models explained 41 percent of the variance in women
and 35 percent in men. Results were extremely similar: In both
sexes, DT was associated with greater Impulsivity, Competitive-
ness, and Recreational Sexual Behavior, and with lower levels of
Agreeableness. These four variables were the only significant pre-
dictors in both sexes. We therefore conducted a moderation anal-
ysis to confirm respondent sex did not moderate the relationship
between the predictors and DT (Frazier, Tix, & Baron, 2004). To
do this, we added sex-by-variable interaction terms in the final
step of a hierarchical regression. The addition of interaction terms
The design and analyses of this study conform to the recommendations of
Simmons, Nelson, and Simonsohn (2011).
Table 1
Means and standard deviations by sex for all variables.
Domain Measure Women Men Fd
Dark Triad 3.72 (2.55) 4.03 (2.50) 3.41 0.12
Lifestyle Impulsivity 2.37 (2.13) 2.30 (2.00) 0.23 0.03
Sensation-seeking 5.08 (3.27) 5.93 (3.09) 16.07
Competitiveness 2.70 (0.62) 2.90 (0.64) 22.99
Mating strategy Romance 3.58 (0.70) 3.66 (0.69) 2.61 0.12
Attachment 4.19 (0.69) 4.22 (0.62) 0.49 0.05
Sexual Desire (Partner) 4.06 (1.29) 4.51 (1.14) 27.58
Sexual Desire (Others) 2.12 (1.40) 3.36 (1.59) 138.70
Recreational Sexual Behavior 2.53 (1.89) 3.19 (1.99) 26.68
Personality Neuroticism 6.16 (1.83) 5.71 (1.84) 13.58
Extraversion 5.98 (1.82) 5.78 (1.81) 2.78 0.11
Openness 7.24 (1.63) 7.31 (1.61) 0.35 0.04
Agreeableness 10.94 (1.88) 10.88 (1.76) 0.25 0.03
Conscientiousness 7.69 (1.56) 7.37 (1.51) 9.66
p< .001.
p< .01.
Table 2
Correlations between Dark Triad and all variables by sex.
Domain Measure Women Men
Mating style Romance .06 .01
Attachment .08 .05
Sexual Desire (Partner) .06 .05
Sexual Desire (Others) .23
Recreational Sexual Behavior .48
Lifestyle orientation Competitiveness .41
Sensation-seeking .32
Impulsivity .31
Personality Neuroticism .04 .06
Extraversion .17
Openness .07 .08
Agreeableness .31
Conscientiousness .13
p< .001.
G.L. Carter et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 56 (2014) 159–164 161
did not improve the model,
= .003, p= .36, confirming men’s
and women’s models did not differ. Evidence of moderation by
sex was absent for Impulsivity b= .01, t= .24, p= .81; Competitive-
ness b=.01, t=.35, p= .73; Agreeableness b=0.08, t=1.06,
p= .29), and Recreational Sexual Behavior b=.13, t=1.75,
p= .08.
In previous work (Jonason et al., 2009), DT has been found to
partially mediate sex differences in short-term mating strategy.
Although we found sex differences in Sexual Desire Others and
Recreational Sexual Behavior, DT was not tested as a mediator be-
cause the requirement of a significant correlation between the
independent variable (gender) and mediator (DT score) was not
4. Discussion
Our data demonstrate that (1) in a large national sample, there
is no significant sex difference in DT personality and (2) the corre-
lates of DT personality are nearly identical in the two sexes. We
consider these in turn.
In the main, our pattern of sex differences replicated those
previously reported. Men scored higher than women on Sensa-
tion-seeking and Competitiveness, and showed stronger sexual
motivation, reflected in stronger Sexual Desire (for Partner and
Others), as well as Recreational Sexual Behavior. We found no
sex difference in Impulsivity in line with a recent meta-analysis
suggesting Impulsivity and Sensation-seeking are conceptually
and empirically distinct, with sex differences confined to the latter
(Cross et al., 2011). Women scored higher than men on Neuroti-
cism and Conscientiousness. Despite this replication of established
sex differences over a range of measures, we found no significant
sex difference in DT scores. Given our large sample, with ample
power (85%) to detect even a small effect size (d= .20), the absence
of a sex difference merits consideration. Many previous studies
have used undergraduate samples. Younger age is associated with
a riskier lifestyle, particularly among men. This has been dubbed
‘Young Male Syndrome’ (Wilson & Daly, 1985). To the extent that
DT is correlated with (or is a manifestation of) that syndrome,
sex differences might be expected to be most apparent at younger
ages. However, when we restricted our analysis to respondents
aged 30 or younger, there was no evidence of a sex difference. Nev-
ertheless, we acknowledge that our youngest participant was aged
25, compared with average ages between 21 and 24 in previous DT
studies (Jonason & Tost, 2010; Jonason et al., 2009). College stu-
dents differ from the general population not only in age, but on a
range of measures including individualism and internal locus of
control (Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010). Despite this, they
account for two-thirds of participants used in psychological studies
in the United States. As noted (Jonason & Buss, 2012), studies of DT
in relation to demographic indictors such as gender require large
community samples, preferably with a wide age range, for valid
In men and women, DT personality was associated with lower
Agreeableness, greater Extraversion and a more Competitive, Sen-
sation-seeking and Impulsive lifestyle. Although DT was not corre-
lated with intra-relationship variables (Romance, Attachment and
Sexual Desire (Partner)), it was positively correlated with extra-
relationship variables (Sexual Desire (Others) and Recreational
Sexual Behavior). This suggests the main impact of DT on mating
strategy is on casual sexual adventures. Indeed, for both sexes, cor-
relations between DT and Recreational Sexual Behavior were
among the highest of all. Individuals high on DT do not lack feel-
ings of romance and attachment toward their partners, but they re-
tain a lively interest in extra-pair sexual possibilities. This ‘lust for
life’ (or ‘life of lust’) is also manifest in a willingness to act sponta-
neously and seize opportunities (Impulsivity), to value excitement
even when risky (Sensation-seeking), to enjoy social stimulation
and interaction (Extraversion), and to embrace interpersonal riv-
alry (Competitiveness). These motivations sit against a backdrop
of low Agreeableness, with a premium on personal satisfaction at
the expense of trustworthiness, modesty and compliance. This per-
sonality is congruent with a ‘fast’ life history strategy prioritizing
immediate gratification, of which short-term mating is one mani-
festation (Jonason & Tost, 2010).
Multiple regression analyses for men and women identified the
same predictors of DT score with similar weightings, and this was
confirmed by moderation analysis. A high degree of similarity be-
tween the sexes has been found in previous studies where partic-
ipants have been disaggregated by sex (Jonason & Buss, 2012;
Jonason, Li, & Buss 2010; Jonason & Tost, 2010; Paulhus & Williams,
2002). Indeed, an absence of moderation by sex has been explicitly
noted in studies of DT and mating strategy (Jonason & Buss 2012;
Jonason et al., 2011). Despite this, researchers have emphasized DT
personality constellation as especially relevant to mensmating
strategy (Jonason et al., 2009). For example, Jonason, Webster, Sch-
mitt, Li, and Crysel (2012) characterize male ‘antiheros’ of popular
culture (such as James Bond) as classic examples of DT personality.
In explaining the apparent paucity of female antiheros, they sug-
gest ‘‘fast life strategies in women are simply manifested through
different indicators than for men’’ (Jonason et al., 2012, p. 197).
In our data, the absence of significant sex differences in DT and
its correlates suggests DT may facilitate a short term-mating strat-
egy in much the same way for women as for men. Evolutionary
psychology increasingly recognizes strategic pluralism in both
sexes (e.g. Schmitt et al., 2012; Thornhill & Gangestad, 2008). Tra-
ditional assumptions about sex roles in relation to mating strate-
gies are being challenged: Aspects of the Bateman principles
have been questioned empirically (Gowaty, Kim, & Anderson,
2012) and theoretically (Kokko & Jennions, 2008). Multiple mating
can bring a range of advantages to females by improving offspring
quality, increasing genetic diversity, and exploiting male resources
in the short term (Jennions & Petrie, 2000). Women’s willingness to
engage in short-term relationships may be a form of intrasexual
competition whereby sex is used to undercut the competition:
Table 3
Multiple regression of all variables on Dark Triad score by sex controlling for age.
Variable Women Men
Step 1
Age .03 .02 .10 .02 .02 .06
Step 2
Age .03 .01 .09 .02 .01 .06
Recreational Sexual
.45 .07 .32
.31 .07 .25
Competitiveness 1.25 .18 .31
.99 .17 .26
Agreeableness .28 .06 .20
.39 .07 .28
Impulsivity .16 .06 .13
.14 .06 .11
Romance .21 .21 .06 .33 .20 .09
Attachment .12 .21 .03 .11 .22 .03
Openness .05 .07 .04 .07 .07 .05
Sensation-seeking .04 .05 .05 .07 .05 .08
Sexual Desire (Others) .01 .09 .01 .07 .08 .04
Sexual Desire (Partner) .03 .10 .01 .10 .10 .05
Neuroticism .00 .07 .00 .02 .06 .01
Conscientiousness .00 .08 .00 .12 .08 .07
Extraversion .01 .07 .01 .10 .07 .07
Step 1 .01 .00
Step 2 .41 .35
Ffull model 17.22
p< .05.
p< .001.
162 G.L. Carter et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 56 (2014) 159–164
Offering ‘cheaper’ sex, women can gain (temporary) access to
highly-desirable mates, with the prospect of retaining some over
a longer term (Baumeister & Vohs, 2004). Furthermore, women’s
adoption of a short-term strategy is supported by contemporary
cultural shifts, including rejection of sexual ‘double standards’
and support for gender equality in private and public spheres.
Notwithstanding the positive association with DT, women in
our study were less likely to engage in Recreational Sexual Behav-
ior than men and showed less marked desires for sex beyond
current relationships. This is convergent with research showing
women’s lesser willingness to engage in uncommitted, casual
and short-term sex (e.g. Schmitt et al., 2012). DT has been offered
as an explanation of this sex difference in mating preferences, yet
our data indicate no sex difference in DT or its personality and life-
style correlates. Although DT explained a significant percentage of
the variance in Recreational Sexual Behavior and Sexual Desire
(Others) in both sexes, it did not explain the sex difference per
se. In a previous study in which a sex difference in DT was found
(Jonason et al., 2009), DT only partially mediated the relationship
between gender and mating strategy; the residual effect of gender
remained significant. The most likely candidate linking gender to
preferred mating strategy is the marked universal sex difference
in sexual drive, including men’s greater desire for sexual variety,
willingness to engage in sex after minimal acquaintance and high-
er preferred rate of intercourse. Our data do not suggest DT traits
predispose men more strongly than women to a desire for sexual
Overall, our findings add to calls for the use of larger and more
representative samples if we are to develop a fuller understanding
of DT. Moreover, the tendency to focus on DT as facilitating a ‘male’
sexual strategy should be reconsidered. Future work could usefully
consider manifestations of the Dark Triad in women and give
greater consideration to the benefits of DT personality beyond
the domain of mating strategies.
The author would like to thank attendees at ISHE 2012; in par-
ticular, Maryanne Fisher, for helpful comments on our findings.
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... Lastly, often-users of aggressive humor tend to exhibit higher levels of Machiavellianism and psychopathy (Dionigi et al., 2022) as well as spitefulness (Vrabel et al., 2017). This is likely because those traits facilitate aggressive contests (Carter et al., 2014;Goncalves and Campbell, 2014;Lyons et al., 2019). ...
... In other words, we predict that (a) Machiavellianism and (b) psychopathy would mediate the correlation between the motive of competition and use of aggressive humor (Prediction 2a and 2b). Consistent with Prediction 2, prior research found that the motive of competition, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and use of aggressive humor significantly correlated with each other (Carter et al., 2014;Goncalves and Campbell, 2014;Lyons et al., 2019). However, no research has tested a mediation model that includes all these variables simultaneously. ...
... This research provides further evidence that Machiavellianism and especially psychopathy facilitates contests competition and motivates spiteful behaviors such as the use of aggressive humor (Carter et al., 2014;Goncalves and Campbell, 2014;Lyons et al., 2019). In particular, our model comparison (Figures 3A, C) suggests that, at least in the context of this research, the chronic accessibility of the motive of competition prescribes the behavioral tendencies labeled as psychopathy instead of the other way around. ...
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Introduction: The use of aggressive humor (e.g., teasing, schadenfreude, and sarcasm) is a spiteful behavior because it inflicts costs on both others and the self. To explain the existence of this spiteful behavior, two hypotheses derived from sexual selection theory-namely Mate-Choice and Contests-posit that the use of aggressive humor helps one attract mates or repel competitors. Both hypotheses have merit, but extant data are unable to discriminate between them. Methods: We critically tested those two hypotheses with a survey study that measured 509 U.S. MTurkers' self-reported tendencies to use aggressive (and other types of) humor, the motives to engage in competition and courtship, and the Dark-Triad personality traits. The final sample was N = 439. Results: We found that (1) the motive of competition but not courtship positively and significantly correlated with the self-reported tendency to use aggressive humor. (2) Subclinical psychopathy-a personality trait positively associated with competition-mediated the correlation between the motive of competition and self-reported use of aggressive humor. These results were held in both female and male respondents. Discussion: Our findings favored the Contests Hypothesis and helped reveal the psychological mechanism that generates the use of aggressive humor as a form of verbal aggression and spiteful behavior.
... Yet, which men and women (in particular) engage in different casual sex practices is rarely investigated. Frequently, casual sex is either regarded as an exploitative mating strategy (Black et al., 2014;Jonason et al., 2009) or as a psychopathological manifestation (Gutiérrez, 2013) -some even doubt sex differences in these strategies (Carter et al., 2014). These views leave out that charm (Black et al., 2014) and flexible mating strategies (e.g., bet-hedging, environmentdependent tactics) may attract mates, which are not necessarily exploitative behavior. ...
... These behavioral sexspecific associations might be specific "flavored" manifestations of the individual trait on top of the underlying disposition of the dark core (Bader et al., 2022). Evidently, the Dark Triad traits are different mating strategies with different mechanism in men and women, which lead to short-term sex and are not limited to young samples (Carter et al., 2014). The outcomes of the Dark Triad traits show variation by sex (Jonason et al., 2017), particularly impulsivity (i.e., psychopathy) and outcomes such as sociosexual desire, which leads us to the assumption that contradicting studies (Carter et al., 2014) may be based on statistical and/or observed artifacts. ...
... Evidently, the Dark Triad traits are different mating strategies with different mechanism in men and women, which lead to short-term sex and are not limited to young samples (Carter et al., 2014). The outcomes of the Dark Triad traits show variation by sex (Jonason et al., 2017), particularly impulsivity (i.e., psychopathy) and outcomes such as sociosexual desire, which leads us to the assumption that contradicting studies (Carter et al., 2014) may be based on statistical and/or observed artifacts. Taken together, the Dark Triad traits are associated with different sexual outcomes in men and women, and additionally the strength of the correlations depends on the sexual variable considered. ...
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We replicated and extended (N = 495) what is known about the relationships between the Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy) and a wider range (than previously reported) of sociosexuality including risky sexual behaviors (e.g., lack of condom use) and sexuality in relation to dating applications like Tinder, in general, in men and women, and above agreeableness. Machiavellianism and psychopathy were linked to most sociosexual behaviors and attitudes. In men, Machiavellianism was linked to various sociosexual outcomes, in women those outcomes were associated with psychopathy instead. Agreeableness was hardly correlated with sociosexual outcomes. The Dark Triad traits were more strongly correlated with the studied outcomes even after controlling for agreeableness or for the dark core. Unexpectedly, men who were Machiavellian and agreeable reported the most sex partners in different contexts, but not psychopaths. In contrast, women who were psychopathic not only had more sex partners in general, but they also engaged in more unprotected sex, and one-night stands than men did. These findings build on prior research on the Dark Triad traits and their associations with sociosexuality and help to draw a more nuanced and modern picture of those relationships.
... The DD gives scores for each of the three dark traits, as well as a general dark triad score (Jonason & Webster, 2010). Giving a total score is a common practice, which is based on the already mentioned correlations between psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism (Baughman et al., 2012;Carter et al., 2014;Crysel et al., 2013;Jonason et al., 2009;Jonason & Kavanagh, 2010). In this vein, the simultaneous presence of a general factor and specific factors provides the best representation of the DD structure (McLarnon & Tarraf, 2017, 2021. ...
... The practical implications of the study are the following. When using the DD instrument, studies tend to offer a global score of the dark triad (Baughman et al., 2012;Carter et al., 2014;Crysel et al., 2013;Jonason & Kavanagh, 2010). However, this study shows that a general dark triad score is not supported as its domains are not symmetrical. ...
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The traits of the dark triad (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) capture the individual differences in the aversive personality. The dark triad has shown significant relations with behaviors that affect people’s lives. One of the best-known instruments to assess the dark triad is the Dirty Dozen. However, controversy continues over the use of one general dark triad score or, conversely, three different scores. This study aimed to investigate the factor structure of the Dirty Dozen across eight global regions. There were 11,477 participants in 49 countries grouped into eight regions. Different factor structures were studied using confirmatory factor analyses. Both the three-dimensional models and the bifactor models (symmetrical or traditional and non-symmetrical or bifactor-[S – 1]) showed a good fit to the data. The bifactor-(S – 1) models (with psychopathy or Machiavellianism as the reference factors) show adequate fit to the data, supported by the coherence of the factorial loadings and the bifactor indices. Regarding measurement invariance for both models, configural, metric, and scalar invariance were satisfied. The results indicate that it is not clear whether a psychopathy or Machiavellianism reference factor predominates in the Dirty Dozen. For both models, templates are provided to obtain standardized scores for applied researchers in the eight studied world regions until future studies offer a greater amount of validity evidence for this instrument.
... A growing body of research has indicated that interpersonal trust is pertinent to age and gender. Specifically, adults tend to have an increase in interpersonal trust as they get older [32,33], whereas children and adolescents tend to have a decline in interpersonal trust as they get older [34][35][36][37]. These results suggest that interpersonal trust might be an important developmental predictor, especially for youth. ...
... This result is in line with previous research [36], which suggests that children become more suspicious of others as they get older. One possibility is that adolescence and young adulthood are associated with risk-taking and impulsivity, so negative attitudes such as suspiciousness, mistrust, negativity, and cynicism might be most apparent at this age [34,35]; (2) as proposed by Tokuda et al. (2008) and Liang (2015), the lower their interpersonal trust, the more participants endorsed lower HRQoL [19,20]; (3) older adolescents reported greater distrust of others and lower levels of HRQoL. That is, interpersonal trust mediated the effects of age on HRQoL. ...
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Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is an interesting topic in health care sciences and psychology. Deeper insight into the internal mechanism of this effect through large samples is crucial to further understanding HRQoL and making targeted suggestions to improve HRQoL. The present study aims to investigate the mediating role of interpersonal trust between age and HRQoL from a developmental lens. The purpose of this study was to profile the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 generic scale in China and test the relationship between age and health-related quality of life, as well as the mediating role of interpersonal trust and the moderating role of gender. A sample of 6248 children completed measures of demography, health-related quality of life, and interpersonal trust. Regression analyses were performed to test the mediating role of interpersonal trust and the moderating role of gender. Age was associated with lower health-related quality of life and lower interpersonal trust. Similarly, gender differences were also noted, with boys reporting higher health-related quality of life and lower interpersonal trust than girls. Additionally, the health-related quality of life of girls declined more than that of boys with increasing age. Regression analyses revealed that age could predict decreased health-related quality of life via lower levels of interpersonal trust. What is more, the mediation effect was moderated by gender, with the observed mediation effect being stronger among boys than girls. The current study replicates age and gender differences in health-related quality of life and interpersonal trust. Moreover, this study explained how and when age affected the health-related quality of life of children, and provided a deeper understanding of the relation between age and health-related quality of life.
... О целесообразности рассматривать нарциссизм, макиавеллизм и психопатию как единый комплекс свидетельствуют не только взаимосвязи между этими чертами, но и их соотношение с другими психологическими характеристиками. Например, все черты, входящие в Темную триаду, положительно и на одном уровне значимости связаны с ориентацией на социальную доминантность по отношению к социальным меньшинствам, с восприятием иммигрантов как угрозы для внутригрупповой целостности и с предрассудками относительно иммигрантов [Hodson et al., 2009, Jonason, 2015, в большинстве исследований обнаруживают отрицательные связи с показателями эмоционального интеллекта [Zhang et al., 2015] и с таким фактором Большой пятерки, как Доброжелательность, уступчивость [Furnham et al., 2014], все черты Темной триады вносят вклад в отклоняющееся поведение подростков [Chabrol et al., 2009], носители всех черт Темной триады прибегают к манипулятивным стратегиям и обману в межличностных отношениях, в частности, при общении с партнерами противоположного пола [Adams et al., 2014;Black et al., 2014;Carter et al., 2014;Jonason et al., 2010Jonason et al., , 2012aJonason et al., , 2012bJonason et al., , 2014Jonason et al., , 2015Jones, Weiser, 2014;Nathanson et al., 2006aNathanson et al., , 2006b]. ...
Темная триада, анализу которой посвящен обзор, объединяет три психологические черты – неклинический нарциссизм, макиавеллизм и неклиническую психопатию. В обзоре рассматривается: 1) история формирования представлений о содержании и структуре этих характеристик; 2) некоторые результаты исследования макиавеллизма, нарциссизма и психопатии на неклинических популяциях; 3) место Темной триады в структуре базовых черт личности; 4) представления о ядре Темной триады и чертах – кандидатах на роль характеристики, обуславливающей связи между нарциссизмом, макиавеллизмом и психопатией.
... This behavior would primarily be sociosexual as operationalized by behaviorists, because the sexual behavior serves the social goal of intrasexual mate competition, while simultaneously being indicative of high sociosexuality as defined by psychologists. Such a pattern is plausible, given females' ability to detect the sociosexuality of other females (Stillman & Maner, 2009) and links between sociosexuality and mate-competition motivation (Carter et al., 2014;Carter et al., 2015;Semenyna et al., 2019). The effectiveness of such tactics do not rely on conscious recognition of underlying motives, and self-reported motivations may bear little resemblance to the underlying evolutionary rationale and goals of certain competitive behaviors (Reynolds, 2021). ...
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The interface of sexual behavior and evolutionary psychology is a rapidly growing domain, rich in psychological theories and data as well as controversies and applications. With nearly eighty chapters by leading researchers from around the world, and combining theoretical and empirical perspectives, The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Sexual Psychology is the most comprehensive and up-to-date reference work in the field. Providing a broad yet in-depth overview of the various evolutionary principles that influence all types of sexual behaviors, the handbook takes an inclusive approach that draws on a number of disciplines and covers nonhuman and human psychology. It is an essential resource for both established researchers and students in psychology, biology, anthropology, medicine, and criminology, among other fields. Volume 4: Controversies, Applications, and Nonhuman Primate Extensions addresses controversies and unresolved issues; applications to health, law, and pornography; and non-human primate evolved sexual psychology.
... First, there was evidence to suggest that high GFP is not always advantageous. For instance, those who score highly on Dark Triad measures are often reproductively successful, although they would likely have lower GFP scores (Adams et al., 2014;Carter et al., 2014). Personality traits can also confer differential fitness benefits depending on circumstances (Lowe et al., 2009;Nettle, 2006), and so a linear relationship between GFP and fitness cannot always be assumed. ...
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In this article we attend to recent critiques of psychometric applications of life history (LH) theory to variance among humans and develop theory to advance the study of latent LH constructs. We then reanalyze data (n = 4,244) previously examined by Richardson et al. (Evolutionary Psychology, 15(1), 2017, to determine whether (a) previously reported evidence of multidimensionality is robust to the modeling approach employed and (b) the structure of LH indicators is invariant by sex. Findings provide further evidence that a single LH dimension is implausible and that researchers should cease interpreting K-factor scores as empirical proxies for LH speed. In contrast to the original study, we detected a small inverse correlation between mating competition and Super-K that is consistent with a trade-off. Tests of measurement invariance across the sexes revealed evidence of metric invariance (i.e., equivalence of factor loadings), consistent with the theory that K is a proximate cause of its indicators; however, evidence of partial scalar invariance suggests use of scores likely introduces bias when the sexes are compared. We discuss limitations and identify approaches that researchers may use to further evaluate the validity of the K-factor and other applications of LH to human variation.
Academic fraud is a perennial problem, and the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated it with most universities moving to online learning. We conducted a survey with 259 students from three universities about their perceptions of academic fraud in online learning. This article examines whether individual factors drawing from the dark triad of personality and three situational factors: academic integrity culture, academic fraud ambiguity, and pressure, influence the intention to engage in academic fraud. Using partial least square-structural equation modeling, the results show that academic integrity culture, pressure, and the dark triad of personality significantly affect students’ intention to engage in academic fraud. The implication of such findings is discussed.
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The dark triad in psychology includes personality traits of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. These personality traits are called “dark” because of their bad qualities. Psychopathic, narcissistic, Machiavellian, and sadistic traits make up the dark tetrad of personality traits. Health Organization, while making statements covering issues such as sexuality, gender identity/ roles, sexual pleasure, establishing close relationships and reproduction, also includes some factors that affect these concepts. These elements include environmental, social, cultural, economic, religious, historical and legal factors as well as biological and psychological factors. This study, which has been conducted with a systematic review method, aims to determine what effects the dark triad and the dark tetrad have on sexuality by bringing together the studies of the dark triad and the dark tetrad on sexuality and sexuality related topics. As a result, it was found that the dark triad and the dark tetrad are reflected in people’s professional, social, educational, even romantic relationships, sexual behaviors, as shown in many previous studies, and are associated with rape myths, short-term relationships, partner selection and romantic relationships utilitarianism.
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The data includes measures collected for the two experiments reported in “False-Positive Psychology” [1] where listening to a randomly assigned song made people feel younger (Study 1) or actually be younger (Study 2). These data are useful because they illustrate inflations of false positive rates due to flexibility in data collection, analysis, and reporting of results. Data are useful for educational purposes.
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The aim of this review is to consider the potential benefits that females may gain from mating more than once in a single reproductive cycle. The relationship between non-genetic and genetic benefits is briefly explored. We suggest that multiple mating for purely non-genetic benefits is unlikely as it invariably leads to the possibility of genetic benefits as well. We begin by briefly reviewing the main models for genetic benefits to mate choice, and the supporting evidence that choice can increase offspring performance and the sexual attractiveness of sons. We then explain how multiple matin!: can elevate offspring fitness by increasing the number of potential sires that compete, when this occurs in conjunction with mechanisms of paternity biasing that function in copula or post-copulation. We begin by identifying cases where females use precopulatory cues to identify mates prior to remating. In the simplest case, females remate because they identify a superior mate and 'trade up' genetically. The main evidence for this process comes from extra-pair copulation in birds. Second, we note other cases where pre-copulatory cues may be less reliable and females mate with several males to promote post-copulatory mechanisms that bias paternity. Although a distinction is drawn between sperm competition and cryptic female choice, we point out that the genetic benefits to polyandry in terms of producing more viable or sexually attractive offspring do not depend on the exact mechanism that leads to biased paternity. Post-copulatory mechanisms of paternity biasing may: (1) reduce genetic incompatibility between male and female genetic contributions to offspring; (2) increase offspring viability if there is a positive correlation between traits favoured post-copulation and those that improve performance under natural selection; (3) increase the ability of sons to gain paternity when they mate with polyandrous females. A third possibility is that genetic diversity among offspring is directly favoured. This can be due to bet-hedging (due to mate assessment errors or temporal fluctuations in the environment), beneficial interactions between less related siblings of the opportunity to preferentially fertilise eggs with sperm of a specific genotype drawn from a range of stored sperm depending on prevailing environmental conditions. We use case studies from the social insects to provide some concrete examples of the role of genetic diversity among progeny in elevating fitness. We conclude that post-copulatory mechanisms provide a more reliable way of selecting a genetically compatible mate than pre-copulatory mate choice. Some of the best evidence for cryptic female choice by sperm selection is due to selection of more compatible sperm. Two future areas of research seem likely to be profitable. First, more experimental evidence is needed demonstrating that multiple mating increases offspring fitness via genetic gains. Second, the role of multiple mating in promoting assortative fertilization and increasing reproductive isolation between populations may help us to understand sympatric speciation.
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It has been suggested that the Dark Triad (DT) personality constellation is an evolved facilitator of men's short-term mating strategies. However, previous studies have relied on self-report data to consider the sexual success of DT men. To explore the attractiveness of the DT personality to the other sex, 128 women rated created (male) characters designed to capture high DT facets of personality or a control personality. Physicality was held constant. Women rated the high DT character as significantly more attractive. Moreover, this greater attractiveness was not explained by correlated perceptions of Big 5 traits. These findings are considered in light of mating strategies, the evolutionary 'arms race' and individual differences.
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The authors explored the psychology of romantically attracting someone who is already in a relationship—what can be called the process of human mate poaching. In Study 1 ( N = 236), they found that attempts at poaching were relatively common and were linked with distinctive personality dispositions. Study 2 ( N = 220) documented that the perceived costs and benefits of poaching differed somewhat for men and women and depended on whether short-term or long-term poaching outcomes were targeted. Study 3 ( N = 453) found support for 5 evolution-based hypotheses about the perceived effectiveness of poaching tactics. Study 4 ( N = 333) found that poaching effectiveness was influenced by the type of relationship being encroached on—marital, dating, long distance, highly committed, just beginning, or about to end. Discussion focuses on the importance of placing mate poaching within the broader context of human sexual strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Most evolutionary theories of human mating have focused on the adaptive benefits of short-term mating for men. Men cannot pursue a strategy of short-term mating, however, without willing women. Existing empirical evidence suggests that some women engage in short-term mating some of the time and probably have done so recurrently over human evolutionary history. The current studies tested hypotheses about the potential benefits women might derive from engaging in one type of short-term mating — extra-pair liaisons — and the contexts in which they do so. These include resource hypotheses (e.g. immediate resource accrual), genetic hypotheses (e.g. having genetically diverse offspring), mate switching hypotheses (e.g. acquiring a better mate), mate skill acquisition hypotheses (e.g. mate preference clarification) and mate manipulation hypotheses (e.g. deterring a partner's future infidelity). These hypotheses were tested by examining the perceived likelihood that women would receive particular benefits through a short-term extra-pair mating (Study 1); the perceived magnitude of benefits if received (Study 2); the contexts in which women engage in short-term extra-pair mating (Study 3); and individual differences among women in proclivity to pursue short-term matings in their perceptions of benefits (Study 4). Most strongly supported across all four studies were the mate switching and resource acquisition hypotheses. Discussion focuses on the distinction between functions and beneficial effects of short-term mating, limitations of the current studies and the consequences of women's short-term mating strategies for the broader matrix of human mating.
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Recent evidence seems to call into question long-established findings of sex differences in sexuality, such as differences in mate preferences and desires for casual sex. In this article, we place new findings in a broader evidence-based context and show that they confirm previous perspectives on human mating. A wealth of evidence from real-world studies of actual mate choice and marital dynamics supports evolutionary mate-preference predictions. Converging evidence from patterns of extradyadic sex, mate poaching, sexual fantasies, pornography consumption, postcoital regret, sociosexual attitudes, and willingness to engage in casual sex supports the view that men and women have distinct short-term mating psychologies. This article highlights the fact that good science requires a constant re-evaluation of old truths and the proper placement of new studies in broad evidentiary contexts.
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Among the Dark Triad of personality, both narcissism and psychopathy have been linked to impulsivity. What remains unclear is the pattern of associations that the Dark Triad have with functional and dysfunctional types of impulsivity. Using both student (N=142) and adult samples (N=329), we investigated the association of the Dark Triad variables with Dickman’s measures of functional and dysfunctional impulsivity. Based on regression analyses, psychopathy was most closely associated with dysfunctional impulsivity whereas narcissism was associated with functional impulsivity. It appears that narcissistic impulsivity involves venturesome social engagement whereas psychopathic impulsivity stems from poor self-regulation. As expected, Machiavellianism had no consistent association with either type of impulsivity. In short, the Dark Triad members show a coherent pattern of relations with impulsivity.
Presently the conventional structure of personality, the Five-Factor Model (FFM), has faced criticism for inadequately capturing the full range of existing traits, particularly those reflecting antisocial behavior. The FFM has also not received sufficient application of genetically informed analyses to its extraction and validation. We explored these criticisms, and carried out four behavioral genetic studies which employed the Dark Triad personality cluster as a microcosmic representation of the antisocial personality domain, to assess the comprehensiveness of the FFM and the fit of socially malevolent traits within it. Results from these studies revealed significant phenotypic, genetic, and environmental correlations between the Dark Triad traits and variables measured by the NEO Personality Inventory, the Supernumerary Personality Inventory, the Defining Issues Test-Version 2, and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire. It is concluded that the FFM does not provide a complete model of personality and that behavior genetic approaches to the study of individual differences can contribute to a more comprehensive theory.
Theory testing in the area of hypercompetitiveness has been impeded by the lack of an adequate psychometric instrument. Four studies were conducted as part of an initial research program designed to remedy this deficiency by constructing an individual difference measure of general hypercompetitive attitude with satisfactory psychometric properties. In Studies 1 and 2, a 26-item scale was derived primarily through item-total correlational analysis; it demonstrated adequate internal and test-retest reliabilities. The remaining two studies were concerned with determining the construct validity of the scale. In line with theoretical expectations based on Horney's theory of neurosis, subjects who perceived themselves as hypercompetitive were less psychologically healthy. The potential usefulness of the scale in therapeutic, athletic, school, and business settings is discussed.