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Shedding light on the dark side: Associations between the dark triad and the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model

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Abstract

The current study investigates the usefulness of the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model to better understand the building blocks of the dark triad personality traits. Specifically, differential associations with 25 maladaptive personality facets are examined to uncover similarities and differences between the dark triad traits (objective 1). In addition, incremental validity of Five-Factor Model (FFM) maladaptive and FFM general personality domains as predictors of the dark triad traits is examined (objective 2). Data were obtained in a sample of Romanian law enforcement personnel (i.e., police officers, gendarmes, fire-fighters; total N = 266). With regard to the first objective , Machiavellianism and psychopathy, more than narcissism, showed multiple associations with facets from the maladaptive trait model. Grandiosity was found to be the only maladaptive facet that connects all three dark traits. Regarding the second objective, results indicated that DSM-5 maladaptive domains outperformed general Big Five domains when they were considered simultaneously as predictors of the dark triad traits, although the predictive effects of Big Five domains did not disappear completely when maladaptive DSM-5 domains were also taken into account. The results expand the understanding of the dark triad and indicate how abnormal traits supplement normal traits when looking at interrelatedness within the triad.
Shedding light on the dark side: Associations between the dark triad and the DSM-5 maladaptive
trait model
Wille, B., & Grigoras, M.* (2017). Shedding light on the dark side: Associations between the dark triad and the
DSM-5 maladaptive trait model. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 516-521. *shared first authorship
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 2
Abstract
1
The current study investigates the usefulness of the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model to better
2
understand the building blocks of the dark triad personality traits. Specifically, differential
3
associations with 25 maladaptive personality facets are examined to uncover similarities and
4
differences between the dark triad traits (objective 1). In addition, incremental validity of Five-
5
Factor Model (FFM) maladaptive and FFM general personality domains as predictors of the dark
6
triad traits is examined (objective 2). Data were obtained in a sample of Romanian law
7
enforcement personnel (i.e., police officers, gendarmes, fire-fighters; total N = 266). With regard
8
to the first objective, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, more than narcissism, showed multiple
9
associations with facets from the maladaptive trait model. Grandiosity was found to be the only
10
maladaptive facet that connects all three dark traits. Regarding the second objective, results
11
indicated that DSM-5 maladaptive domains outperformed general Big Five domains when they
12
were considered simultaneously as predictors of the dark triad traits, although the predictive
13
effects of Big Five domains did not disappear completely when maladaptive DSM-5 domains
14
were also taken into account. The results expand the understanding of the dark triad and indicate
15
how abnormal traits supplement normal traits when looking at interrelatedness within the triad.
16
17
Keywords: narcissism; psychopathy; Machiavellianism; maladaptive personality; DSM-5 trait
18
model; PID-5.
19
20
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 3
1. Introduction
1
Since it was launched by Paulhus and Williams in 2002, the dark triad of personality has
2
proven to be relevant to understanding human behavior in different life domains including health
3
and well-being (e.g., Aghababaei & Blachnio, 2015), friendships and romantic life (e.g., Jonason,
4
Lyons, & Blanchard, 2015), work life (e.g., O'Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & McDaniel, 2012), and
5
education (e.g., Turnipseed & Cohen, 2015). Yet, much still remains to be learned about the exact
6
nature of the three dark triad traits, and in particular about their overlap and distinctiveness in
7
terms of core psychological features. As Jonason and Jackson (2016) recently put it, the dark
8
traits are the “new kids on the block” (p. 274) and many questions remain regarding what
9
underlies them.
10
One approach to disentangle similarities and differences between the dark triad traits has
11
been to relate them to existing and relatively well-understood or ‘mainstream’ (e.g., Furnham,
12
Richards, & Paulhus, 2013) personality taxonomies, such as the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of
13
general personality (e.g., O'Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, Story, & White, 2015) or the HEXACO
14
model (e.g., Lee & Ashton, 2005). Although valuable, these attempts to integrate the dark triad
15
within broader frameworks of personality are still limited in the sense that they have exclusively
16
focused on general taxonomies tapping into normal personality variation only. This seems
17
problematic, given that at least two of the dark triad traits -i.e. narcissism and psychopathy- are
18
derivatives of clinical syndromes (Furnham et al., 2013; Paulhus & Williams, 2002), and it has
19
been argued that dark traits, particularly Machiavellianism and psychopathy, are
20
indistinguishable within the normal range of personality (McHoskey, Worzel, & Szyarto, 1998;
21
O'Boyle et al., 2015).
22
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 4
Expanding this literature, the current study aims to further our understanding of the dark
1
triad by delving deeper into the personality traits that underlie them. For the first time in the
2
literature, all three dark triad traits are related simultaneously to a comprehensive trait model
3
explicitly designed to tap into abnormal personality functioning. It is examined how this set of
4
maladaptive traits may help to further clarify the similarities and differences between the dark
5
triad traits (i.e., objective 1). Second, the relevance of introducing maladaptive personality in
6
dark triad research is further examined by directly comparing the predictive validities of general
7
and maladaptive personality domains. Specifically, it will also be examined whether and to what
8
extent both personality models have incremental validity in predicting dark triad traits. (i.e.,
9
objective 2).
10
1.1. Associations between dark triad traits and general personality frameworks
11
All of the Big Five personality domains have been linked to one or more of the dark triad
12
traits (Furnham et al., 2013). Recent meta-analytic work (O’Boyle et al., 2015) has indicated that
13
a negative association with Agreeableness characterizes each of the dark triad traits.
14
Machiavellianism is additionally negatively associated with Conscientiousness and positively
15
with Neuroticism. Narcissism combines low Agreeableness and Neuroticism with higher scores
16
on Extraversion, Openness and Conscientiousness. Finally, psychopathy tends to combine low
17
Agreeableness and Conscientiousness with elevated scores on Extraversion, Neuroticism and
18
Openness. The overall conclusion was that the Big Five traits were consistently and meaningfully
19
associated with the dark triad, explaining between 30 and 63% of the variance in dark traits.
20
Further, it was noted that the general FFM profiles of Machiavellianism and psychopathy in
21
particular proved remarkably similar, raising concerns about the distinctiveness of these two
22
constructs (O’Boyle et al., 2015).
23
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 5
Research has also related the dark triad to the six-factor HEXACO model of personality
1
(Lee and Ashton, 2005). It was found that all three dark traits were strongly negatively correlated
2
with the Honesty-Humility factor, and that the level of communality between the dark triad traits
3
was explained satisfactorily by the HEXACO variables, but not by the FFM variables. In sum,
4
although there are clear connections between these general personality frameworks and the dark
5
triad model, their usefulness in differentiating between dark triad traits, especially
6
Machiavellianism and psychopathy, is limited.
7
1.2. Introducing the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model in dark triad research
8
The current work first investigates the overlap and distinctiveness between the dark triad
9
traits in terms of a broad set of maladaptive personality facets. What connects the dark triad traits
10
conceptually (see Jones & Paulhus, 2014) is that Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy
11
are socially aversive personalities, which means that all three entail a socially malevolent or
12
maladaptive character with behavior tendencies toward self-promotion, callousness or emotional
13
coldness, deceitfulness, and aggressiveness. Additionally, Machiavellianism is supposed to be
14
characterized by manipulativeness and a strategic-calculating orientation, whereas defining
15
features of psychopathy are assumed to be impulsive recklessness and thrill seeking. Finally, the
16
proposed hallmark characteristics associated with narcissism are grandiosity, self-promotion and
17
attention seeking (Jones & Paulhus, 2014).
18
Krueger, Derringer, Markon, Watson, & Skodol (2012) have developed an extensive
19
personality model that captures -among others- the maladaptive tendencies that define each of the
20
dark triad traits. This DSM-5 maladaptive trait model is now widely used in clinical psychology
21
research aimed to uncover the traits underlying psychopathology (for a summary of this work, see
22
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 6
Krueger and Markon, 2014). An overview and description of the 25 maladaptive personality
1
facets specified in this model is provided in the Appendix (based on Krueger & Markon, 2014).
2
Inspection of the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model clarifies the conceptual overlap with the
3
dark triad. For instance, socially aversive traits such as callousness and deceitfulness are assumed
4
to be characteristic for all three dark traits; impulsivity and risk taking define psychopathy;
5
grandiosity and attention seeking define narcissism; and manipulativeness is central to the
6
definition of Machiavellianism (Jones & Paulhus, 2014). Previous research has explored how the
7
DSM-5 maladaptive trait model relates to narcissistic personality disorder (Miller, Gentile,
8
Wilson, & Campbell, 2013) and clinical psychopathy (Strickland, Drislane, Lucy, Krueger, &
9
Patrick, 2013). Both these studies demonstrated that the maladaptive trait model indeed accounts
10
for substantial proportions (i.e., multiple R’s larger than .50) of the variance in both clinical
11
syndromes. To the best of our knowledge, no prior research has examined the relationships
12
between Machiavellianism and the maladaptive trait model. The first objective of the current
13
study is to relate this maladaptive trait model to subclinical conceptualizations of all three dark
14
traits simultaneously. Rather than formulating a priory hypotheses, it is investigated on
15
exploratory grounds to what extent DSM-5 maladaptive facets help to delineate the dark triad
16
traits.
17
1.3. Incremental validity of FFM general and FFM maladaptive domains
18
Dark triad traits are defined as subclinical constructs, which places them in between
19
normal and abnormal domains of personality functioning (Furnham et al., 2013; Paulhus, 2014).
20
To date, this level of abnormality versus normality in dark triad traits has remained largely
21
unaddressed empirically and is, hence, still poorly understood. The current work aims to address
22
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 7
this gap in the literature by relating the dark triad traits to both general (normal) and maladaptive
1
(abnormal) personality domains.
2
Krueger et al. (2012), followed by others (e.g., De Fruyt et al., 2013), have demonstrated
3
that the 25 maladaptive facets in the DSM-5 model can be hierarchically organized under five
4
personality pathology domains identified as Negative Affectivity, Detachment, Antagonism,
5
Disinhibition and Psychoticism. Moreover, studies investigating the associations between FFM
6
general (or Big Five) traits and DSM-5 maladaptive traits have provided support for the
7
hypothesis that all five domains of the DSM-5 dimensional trait model are extreme and
8
maladaptive variants of general personality structure (i.e., Negative Affectivity as extreme
9
Neuroticism, Detachment as extreme low Extraversion, Antagonism as extreme low
10
Agreeableness, Disinhibition of extreme low Conscientiousness, and Psychoticism as extreme
11
high Openness; De Fruyt et al., 2013; Gore & Widiger, 2013). Hence, there is consensus in the
12
literature that the FFM is a unifying framework for understanding both adaptive (general) and
13
maladaptive personality. The second objective of the present study is to explore the incremental
14
validity of FFM maladaptive domains beyond FFM general domains and vice versa.
15
2. Method
16
2.1. Participants and procedure
17
Data were used from a psychological assistance program provided to the Romanian
18
Ministry of Internal Affairs law enforcement personnel (i.e., police officers, gendarmes, fire-
19
fighters; total N = 266). The main objective of this program is to monitor and enhance employee
20
psychological well-being and, if necessary, strengthen resilience (e.g., through coaching).
21
Importantly, people going through this assistance program are ascertained that their results will
22
not be used for personnel decisions including promotions or special assignments (e.g., to
23
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 8
international missions). Participants were also aware that their anonymized assessment data
1
could be used for research purposes. All self-report instruments were administered to groups of
2
five to ten employees in paper-and-pencil format. The sample was predominantly male (82.5%)
3
and aged between 22 and 54 years old (M = 38.21; SD = 1.75).
4
2.2. Measures
5
2.2.1. Dark Triad
6
A Romanian version of the Short Dark Triad (SD3; Jones & Paulhus, 2014) was used to
7
assess the dark triad of personality. The SD3 consists of 27 items, nine items for each dark trait,
8
that are scored on a five-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). Example
9
items are It’s not wise to tell your secrets” (Machiavellianism), “People see me as a natural
10
leader(narcissism), and Payback needs to be quick and nasty” (psychopathy). The Romanian
11
version of the SD3 has been used in previous research on the role of dark side personality in the
12
work context (Iliescu, Ispas, Sulea, & Ilie, 2015).
13
2.2.2. FFM general personality
14
FFM general personality was assessed using the authorized Romanian translation of the
15
NEO-FFI (Costa & McCrae, 1992). The NEO-FFI has 60 items to be scored on a 5-point rating
16
scale (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree), with 12 items for each of the Big Five
17
personality domains. Example items are “Sometimes I feel completely worthless” (Neuroticism),
18
“I like to be where the action is” (Extraversion), I am intrigued by the patterns I find in art and
19
nature (Openness), I would rather cooperate with others than compete with them
20
(Agreeableness), and “I’m pretty good about pacing myself so as to get things done on time
21
(Conscientiousness). The Romanian version of the NEO-FFI has been widely used in previous
22
research (e.g., Iliescu et al., 2015; Ispas, Iliescu, Ilie, & Johnson, 2014).
23
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 9
2.2.3. FFM maladaptive personality
1
FFM maladaptive personality was assessed using a Romanian translation of the
2
Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5; Krueger et al., 2012). The PID-5 is a 220-item measure
3
of the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model, with items to be scored on a 4- point Likert scale ranging
4
from 0 (very false or often false) to 3 (very true or often true). The Romanian version of the PID-
5
5 was developed following an iterative process of backward translations. Higher order PID-5
6
domains are computed by summing the facet scores that contribute primarily to the domain
7
(APA, 2013; see Appendix). Example items are My emotions sometimes change for no good
8
reason (Emotional Lability - Negative affect), I prefer not to get too close to people
9
(Withdrawal - Detachment), “I’m good at making people do what I want them to do
10
(Manipulativeness - Antagonism), Others see me as irresponsible (Irresponsibility
11
Disinhibition), and I have some unusual abilities, like sometimes knowing exactly what
12
someone is thinking” (Unusual Beliefs & Experiences Psychoticism). It is relevant to note that
13
structural analyses of the Romanian version of the PID-5 yield a five-factor solution that is
14
largely congruent with that of the U.S. derivation sample (Krueger et al, 2012). More information
15
on the adaptation and the structural validity of the Romanian PID-5 is available from the first
16
author upon request.
17
3. Results
18
3.1. Correlations between dark triad traits and DSM-5 maladaptive facets
19
The correlations between dark triad traits and DSM-5 maladaptive facets are summarized
20
in Table 1. Correlations between dark triad traits and FFM general and maladaptive domains are
21
also reported for completeness. To control Type I error, only those correlations with p < 0.001
22
(two-tailed) are considered significant and are further discussed.
23
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 10
Table 1
1
Bivariate correlations between dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive facets
2
Traits
α
Mean
SD
Machiavellianism
Psychopathy
DSM-5 Maladaptive facets
Emotional Lability
.85
2.16
2.98
.24*
.32*
Anxiousness
.81
3.43
3.39
.19
.26*
Restricted Affectivity
.67
3.96
2.99
.33*
.29*
Separation Insecurity
.68
4.26
3.47
.27*
.18
Hostility
.80
3.98
3.87
.38*
.38*
Perseveration
.69
4.38
3.24
.26*
.27*
Submissiveness
.69
3.57
2.68
.20
.20
Withdrawal
.84
2.94
3.70
.12
.21*
Anhedonia
.67
2.42
2.62
.17
.23*
Depressivity
.79
2.98
3.72
.13
.21*
Intimacy Avoidance
.70
1.87
2.34
.14
.19
Suspiciousness
.75
3.57
3.26
.36*
.36*
Manipulativeness
.63
3.25
2.38
.32*
.20
Deceitfulness
.74
3.61
3.49
.43*
.42*
Grandiosity
.79
4.21
3.57
.33*
.29*
Attention Seeking
.85
6.23
4.74
.31*
.16
Callousness
.80
2.89
3.79
.28*
.49*
Irresponsibility
.57
2.01
2.19
.19
.32*
Impulsivity
.75
2.38
2.67
.17
.40*
Rigid Perfectionism
.82
10.35
5.74
.37*
.19
Distractibility
.80
1.90
2.68
.16
.31*
Risk Taking
.72
19.02
5.58
.15
.22*
Eccentricity
.91
2.83
4.51
.24*
.39*
Perceptual Dysregulation
.87
1.32
2.80
.13
.29*
Unusual Beliefs & Experiences
.76
2.29
3.03
.34*
.32*
FFM domains (general and
maladaptive)
NEO-Neuroticism
.73
23.35
5.53
.22*
.36*
PID5 Negative affect
.88
9.76
8.23
.27*
.29*
NEO-Extraversion
.72
44.14
5.60
-.06
-.16
PID5 Detachment
.89
7.19
7.63
.15
.24*
NEO-Agreeableness
.74
47.50
5.66
-.39*
-.45*
PID5 Antagonism
.86
11.05
7.88
.44*
.38*
NEO-Conscientiousness
.83
52.22
5.45
-.11
-.31*
PID5 Disinhibition
.87
6.20
6.43
.19
.39*
NEO-Openness
.61
37.90
4.19
-.04
.03
PID5 Psychoticism
.93
6.20
8.93
.26*
.38*
Note. *p < .001; two-tailed.
3
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 11
Machiavellianism and psychopathy show positive correlations with a range of
1
maladaptive trait facets. Machiavellianism is most strongly correlated with Deceitfulness,
2
followed by Hostility, Rigid Perfectionism, Suspiciousness, Unusual Beliefs & Experiences,
3
Grandiosity, Restricted Affectivity, Manipulativeness, Attention Seeking, Callousness,
4
Separation Insecurity, Perseveration, Emotional lability, and Eccentricity. Psychopathy is most
5
strongly correlated with Callousness, followed by Deceitfulness, Impulsivity, Eccentricity,
6
Hostility, Suspiciousness, Emotional Lability, Unusual Beliefs & Experiences, Irresponsibility,
7
Distractibility, Restricted Affectivity, Grandiosity, Perceptual Dysregulation, Perseveration,
8
Anxiousness, Anhedonia, Risk Taking, Withdrawal, and Depressivity. Finally, Narcissism is
9
correlated with only three PID-5 facets, namely Grandiosity, Attention Seeking, and
10
Manipulativeness.
11
In sum, this pattern of correlations indicates that there is only one maladaptive facet that is
12
significantly related to each of the dark triad traits, namely Grandiosity. Narcissism is different
13
from the two other dark traits in the sense that it shows only very limited correlations with PID-5
14
facets, whereas Machiavellianism and psychopathy have a much broader connection with the
15
maladaptive trait model. These connections further document both the similarities and the
16
differences between Machiavellianism and psychopathy.
17
3.2. Incremental validity of FFM maladaptive and FFM general personality domains
18
Multiple hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to investigate the incremental
19
validity of FFM maladaptive (PID-5) and FFM general (Big Five) domains when predicting the
20
dark triad (see Table 2). In a first set of regressions, FFM general domains were entered in a first
21
step, followed by the maladaptive domains. Together, Big Five domains explained 18% of the
22
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 12
Table 2
Multiple hierarchical regression analyses predicting dark triad from FFM general (Big Five) and FFM maladaptive (PID5) personality domains
Machiavellianism
Narcissism
Psychopathy
Big5 only
PID5 only
Full model
Big5 only
PID5 only
Full model
Big5 only
PID5 only
Full model
NEO-Neuroticism
.06
--
.01
-.09
--
-.07
.20*
--
.13
PID5-Negative affect
--
.05
.10
--
-.27**
-.23*
--
-.15
-.16
NEO-Extraversion
.15
--
.12
.39***
--
.25**
.09
--
.01
PID5-Detachment
--
.02
.04
--
-.39***
-.21*
--
-.12
-.17
NEO-Agreeableness
-.46***
--
-.27**
-.35***
--
-.12
-.39***
--
-.31***
PID5-Antagonism
--
.60***
.49***
--
.55***
.47***
--
.12
.00
NEO-Conscientiousness
.10
--
.04
.17
--
.11
.02
--
.01
PID5-Disinhibition
--
-.24*
-.20
--
-.04
.04
--
.24*
.25*
NEO-Openness
-.03
--
-.09
.05
--
.01
.05
--
.05
PID5-Psychoticism
--
-.01
-.11
--
.17
.07
--
.31*
.24
R2
.18***
.26***
.31***
.22***
.29***
.35***
.23***
.20***
.30***
ΔR2 General traits
.13***
--
.13***
--
.07**
--
ΔR2 Maladaptive traits
--
.05*
--
.06**
--
.10***
Note. Standardized regression coefficients (β) are reported. *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 13
variance in Machiavellianism and only Agreeableness emerged as a significant predictor for this
1
dark trait when all five FFM general domains were considered jointly. Adding maladaptive PID-5
2
domains to the model explained an additional 13% of the variance, and indicated Antagonism as
3
an additional significant predictor. After adding PID-5 domains, the effect of Agreeableness was
4
weaker but still significant. For narcissism, Big Five domains explained 22% of the variance, and
5
this was mostly driven by Extraversion and Agreeableness. Adding PID-5 domains to the model
6
in step 2 added 13% to the variance explained, and indicated Negative Affect, Detachment, and
7
Antagonism as additional predictors. After adding PID-5 domains, the effect of NEO-
8
Extraversion remained significant, whereas the effect of Agreeableness disappeared. Finally, Big
9
Five domains explained 23% of the variance in psychopathy and this was mainly driven by
10
Agreeableness and, to a lesser extent, Neuroticism. Adding PID-5 traits to the model in step 2
11
added 7% to the variance explained, and indicated PID5-Disinhibition as an additional significant
12
predictor. After adding PID-5 domains, Agreeableness remained the only significant FFM
13
general trait predictor.
14
A second series of hierarchical regressions were conducted to investigate the incremental
15
validity of FFM general domains beyond FFM maladaptive domains. The results indicated that
16
for Machiavellianism, FFM maladaptive traits as a set explained 26% of the variance, and this
17
was largely driven by PID5-Antagonism and, to a lesser extent, PID5-Disinhibition. Adding
18
NEO-domains to the model in step 2 significantly increased the percentage of explained variance
19
with an added five percent, showing Agreeableness as an additional significant predictor. For
20
narcissism, FFM maladaptive traits accounted for 29% of the variance, and this was driven by
21
Negative Affect, Detachment, and Antagonism. NEO-domains explained an added 6% of the
22
variance in narcissism, showing Extraversion as an additional predictor. Finally, FFM
23
maladaptive traits accounted for 20% of the variance in psychopathy, and this was mainly driven
24
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 14
by Disinhibition and Psychoticism. FFM general NEO-domains accounted for an additional 10%
1
of the variance, indicating Agreeableness as an additional predictor.
2
4. Discussion
3
Traditional definitions of the dark triad traits rely on maladaptive trait descriptors such as
4
manipulativeness (Machiavellianism), impulsiveness (for psychopathy), and grandiosity (for
5
narcissism) (Jones & Paulhus, 2014). Yet, research on the associations between the dark triad and
6
such maladaptive personality facets is still scarce. The current study aimed to fill this gap in the
7
literature and demonstrated significant associations between the dark triad and the facets from the
8
DSM-5 maladaptive trait model. In addition, the relevance of considering maladaptive
9
personality frameworks such as the DSM-5 model in dark triad research was supported by
10
showing incremental validity of FFM maladaptive personality domains beyond FFM general
11
domains in the prediction of dark triad traits.
12
4.1. Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality facets
13
The correlations between the dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality facets first
14
helped to clarify what is shared across dark triad traits . Rather than callousness and deceitfulness
15
(e.g., Jones and Paulhus, 2011, 2014), it was grandiosity or the belief of superiority which
16
emerged as the only maladaptive personality facets that correlated with each of the dark triad
17
traits.
18
Regarding differences between the dark triad traits, narcissism stood out, showing only
19
minimal but well interpretable overlap with the DSM-5 maladaptive facets. As predicted by
20
Paulhus (2014), the unique feature that separates narcissism from the other two dark traits is
21
abnormal attention seeking, or the extreme desire to make oneself the focus of others’ attention
22
and admiration.
23
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 15
The current results are particularly relevant to shed light on the differences and
1
similarities between Machiavellianism and psychopathy, two traits whose distinctiveness is
2
currently being questioned in the literature (Miller, Hyatt, Maples-Keller, Carter, & Lynam, in
3
press). The results of the current study indicate a number of socially aversive tendencies (besides
4
grandiosity) underlying both these dark traits. The findings particularly suggest that their
5
interpersonal relations are characterized by deceit, hostility towards others, and a high level of
6
distrust in other people’s intentions. Further, their emotional life is portrayed as complex,
7
showing little or no sentiment for the harm they cause others and only restricted affectivity in
8
normatively engaging situations; but at the same time emotional outbursts may occur in response
9
to seemingly irrelevant events. Finally, the results also show that both Machiavellians and
10
psychopaths may display eccentricity in their way of behaving, talking or feeling, and this may
11
also reflect a tendency to hold rather unusual beliefs about themselves and/or their abilities.
12
Beyond their communalities, the pattern of associations with the maladaptive trait model
13
also helps to clarify the differences between Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Characteristic
14
for Machiavellianism in the current sample is the significant and positive association with rigid
15
perfectionism. This suggests that Machiavellians want everything to be flawless and perfect, and
16
are convinced that there is only one right way or strategy to achieve this. Psychopathy, on the
17
other hand, is uniquely associated with impulsivity, irresponsibility and distractibility. This
18
indicates that psychopaths tend to act upon momentary impulses rather than well thought out
19
strategy; they tend to be easily distracted from their goal and make errors trying to get there.
20
While these differences between psychopathy and Machiavellianism have been proposed earlier
21
in theory (Jones & Paulhus, 2014), the current results are the first to substantiate this empirically.
22
23
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 16
4.2. Comparing FFM maladaptive and FFM general domains as predictors of dark triad traits
1
As a second objective, the current study was the first to investigate the dark triad traits in
2
relation to both general and maladaptive personality models, and to compare the predictive
3
effects of these models at the level of the broad FFM domains. The current findings provided
4
further support for the relevance of the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model in this context given the
5
unique associations it shows with the dark triad model. For example, the results indicated that
6
only the maladaptive variant of FFM Openness, i.e. Psychoticism, correlated significantly with
7
Machiavellianism and psychopathy, highlighting a certain degree of oddity (e.g., Verbeke & De
8
Clercq, 2014) that is shared by these dark triad traits and that is not captured by general FFM
9
Openness.
10
The incremental validity of FFM general versus FFM maladaptive trait domains was
11
further tested using regression analyses. For Machiavellianism and narcissism, the increments
12
associated with maladaptive DSM-5 domains were substantially larger compared to the
13
increments associated with general Big Five domains, highlighting the abnormal nature of dark
14
triad traits as subclinical constructs. When maladaptive and general domains were considered
15
jointly, it was mainly Antagonism that was driving incremental validity in predicting the dark
16
traits. Interestingly, for Psychopathy the increments associated with both sets of FFM predictors
17
were more in balance. This was mostly due to the fact that, for this particular dark trait, general
18
Agreeableness outperformed Antagonism when considered jointly. This is rather remarkable
19
given that callous antipathy towards others, as captured by Antagonism, is considered one of the
20
hallmarks of psychopathy (Strickland et al., 2013).
21
4.3. Limitations and conclusions
22
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 17
The current study was the first to simultaneously relate Machiavellianism and subclinical
1
narcissism and psychopathy to the DSM-5 maladaptive trait model, allowing further insights into
2
the similarities and differences within the dark triad. Based on the present analyses, it can be
3
concluded that maladaptive traits can indeed further our understanding of the dark triad, by
4
tapping into abnormal personality space that is not covered by general frameworks, such as the
5
Big Five. One limitation of the present study, however, was that general and maladaptive FFM
6
traits could only be directly compared at the domain level, because no general FFM facet level
7
information was available. Future research could, hence, address the relative importance of both
8
general FFM facets (such as measured by for instance the NEO PI-R; Costa & McCrae, 1992)
9
and maladaptive FFM facets (such as covered by the PID-5; Krueger et al., 2012). Similarly,
10
future research might also examine the extent to which the current results generalize to other
11
measures of the dark triad and to other research populations. Doing so may further clarify the
12
position of the dark traits as subclinical constructs within both normal and abnormal personality
13
space.
14
15
Dark triad and DSM-5 maladaptive personality traits 18
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... Antagonism is found to be a common feature of all three Dark Triad traits. Individuals with high-end Dark Triad traits are known to have toxic interpersonal relationships and often show hostility toward other people (Grigoras and Wille, 2017). Due to a lack of empathetic nature, their relations including spouses, family members, and friends suffer more than the individual themselves (particularly in Narcissism) (Lyons, 2019). ...
... Due to a lack of empathetic nature, their relations including spouses, family members, and friends suffer more than the individual themselves (particularly in Narcissism) (Lyons, 2019). Furthermore, Grigoras and Wille (2017) showed that hostility was a strong predictor of Machiavellianism and narcissism. Narcissism was associated with reduced negative affect and decreased detachment, indicating that narcissism is also related to experiencing positive emotions and a want to be in contact with people, i.e., dependence on obtaining attention. ...
... Maladjustment is a term usually represented in the form of anger, aggression, threatening, and hostile response system, and a negative view of the world (Rohner, 2004). There is a vast representation of literature on maladjustment or negative aspects of personality in relation to DT traits (Paulhus and Williams, 2002;Jakobwitz and Egan, 2006;Grigoras and Wille, 2017;Muris et al., 2017;Lyons, 2019). In the present study, psychological maladjustment is significantly related to DT when controlling the effects of gender, in the same way, psychological maladjustment is a positive predictor of psychological distress and a significant negative predictor for subjective happiness in emerging adults. ...
Article
Full-text available
The transition from adolescence to adulthood is fraught with challenges that might have impacts on later life and personality development. Earlier research investigated Dark Triad traits in connection to emotional problems. The current study, on the other hand, focused on investigating the mediating role of psychological maladjustment in the relation of Dark Triad traits, psychological distress, and subjective happiness in emerging adults. A sample of 546 participants aged 18-25 years (M = 21.2 years) from Pakistan have participated to complete an online survey. Standardized assessment tools were used to measure the targeted variables. Results indicated that Machiavellianism and psychopathy were positively associated with psychological distress, whereas narcissism appeared to be a non-significant predictor. Subjective happiness was positively associated with Machiavellianism and negatively associated with psychopathy. In addition, mediation analysis through Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) indicated that the Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism and psychopathology), psychological distress, and subjective wellbeing were explained by psychological maladjustment. Implications and limitations are discussed.
... However, at the centre of dark personality traits, there is an intimation of personality instability, dogmatism and a reluctance to change (Spain et al., 2014), and suggests the extent to which an individual may be emotionally volatile (Soto et al., 2016). Yet, the personality inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5; Krueger et al., 2012), considered to be the maladaptive version of the Big Five, has surpassed the latter as predictors of dark personality constructs, such that they facilitate the identification of overlapping facets and discriminant characteristics (Grigoras & Wille, 2017). ...
... Comparatively to the Big Five and as predicted, the PID-5 mainly explained the DSHS factors to a greater extent corroborating previous research suggesting the PID-5 constructs outperform the Big Five when they are considered as predictors of the dark personality facets (Grigoras & Wille, 2017). Indeed, the literature has evidenced that the PID-5 model, has accounted for a substantial proportion (i.e., R 2 larger than 0.50), of the variance with dark personality constructs (Miller et al., 2013;Strickland et al., 2013), in relation to narcissistic personality disorder and psychopathy. ...
... The female group showed a relationship with psychoticism and successful psychopathy, as well as grandiose entitlement, whilst for males, the association was only with grandiose entitlement. This serves to highlight the idiosyncrasies in the manifestation of the constructs across sex (Grigoras & Wille, 2017). Note: R 2 values are based on the proportion of variance one construct explains in another construct after controlling for all other constructs; pr = partial correlation determined by edge weight; LSRP P = Levenson Self-Report primary factor; LSRP S = Levenson Self-Report secondary factor. ...
Article
Full-text available
There has been an absence of consideration regarding measurement invariance across males and females in the widely available Dark Tetrad (DT) scales which measure psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism and everyday sadism. This has resulted in criticisms of the measures, suggesting that the assessed constructs are not wholly relatable between the groups. This article documents the construction and validation of the Dark Side of Humanity Scale (DSHS), which measures dark personalities from an alternative viewpoint, determined by the constructs as they emerged from the male and female data, whilst aligning with theory and attaining invariance between sex. Across four samples (n = 2409), using a diverse range of statistical methods, including exploratory graph analysis, item response theory and confirmatory factor analysis, a divergence from the widely available DT measures emerged, whereby primary psychopathy and Machiavellianism were unified. This corroborated past research which had discussed the two constructs as being parallel. It further supported the DSHS with a shift away from the traditional DT conceptualisation. The resulting scale encompasses four factors which are sex invariant across samples and time. The first factor represents the successful psychopath, factor two addresses the grandiose form of entitlement, factor three taps into everyday sadism whilst the fourth factor pertains to narcissistic entitlement rage. Construct and external validity of the DSHS across two samples (n = 1338), as well as test-retest reliability (n = 413), was achieved. The DSHS provides an alternative approach to investigating the dark side of human nature, whilst also being sex invariant, thus making it highly suitable for use with mixed sex samples.
... Although these domains present some continuity with the five-factor model of personality (Fossati, Somma, Borroni, Markon, & Krueger, 2017), the two models present a critical distinction, which may be important in relation to the DT. While the five-factor model can describe the DT traits in terms of extreme variations of normal personality traits, the AMPD approach focuses on pathological personality traits (Fossati et al., 2017;Grigoras & Wille, 2017). In the AMPD (APA, 2013), criteria for narcissistic personality disorder are exclusively in the antagonism domain (i.e., grandiosity, attention seeking). ...
... Strickland et al. (2013) showed that negative affectivity was positively associated with the impulsive and callous traits of psychopathy, but negatively associated with psychopathic traits capturing social dominance and fearlessness (i.e., boldness). A study examined the relations between AMPD domains and the three DT constructs (Grigoras & Wille, 2017). This study reported some contradicting findings, which may be due to the nature of the sample (i.e., police officers, gendarmes, fire-fighters). ...
Article
Objective: The Dark Triad (DT) traits (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) have been linked with both alexithymia and maladaptive personality domains (negative affectivity, detachment, disinhibition, antagonism, psychoticism) comprised in the alternative model of personality disorder (AMPD) of the DSM 5. However, the differential associations of DT with the AMPD personality domains need to be further examined in research with homogeneous samples, in order to improve our understanding of malevolent personality traits. Method: We examined the associations between maladaptive personality domains, DT traits and alexithymia factors in 420 women aged between 18 and 66 years old. Results: Despite uniform bivariate associations, distinct profiles emerged from multiple regression analyses, in line with conceptual expectations. Antagonism was the only common positive predictor of all DT traits. Negative affectivity was positively associated with narcissism, but negatively with psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Psychopathy was related to high detachment and disinhibition. Alexithymia exerted a mediating effect in the association between AMPD domains and both psychopathy (positively) and Machiavellianism (negatively). Conclusions: Findings showed differential personality profiles associated with the DT traits in women based on maladaptive traits that characterize personality pathology, with specific emotional mechanisms that may link maladaptive personality domains and the three DT components among women.
... In terms of a mediator that might be shared by both forms of narcissism, one possible candidate is delusional ideation (i.e., a predisposition towards odd and unusual beliefs). Potentially as a prerequisite of the grandiose fantasies entertained by grandiose narcissists and the delusions of persecution suffered by vulnerable narcissists, both forms of narcissism do appear to be linked to psychoticism and the tendency to hold odd and unusual beliefs Miller, Gentile, Wilson, & Campbell, 2013;Miller et al., 2018;Thomas, Wright, Lukowitsky, Donnellan, & Hopwood, 2012;Wright et al., 2013; but see also Grigoras & Wille, 2017). The tendency to have these beliefs has, in turn, been linked to conspiracist ideation (Barron, Furnham, Weis, Morgan, Towell, & Swami, 2018;Brotherton, French, & Pickering, 2013;Bruder, Haffke, Neave, Nouripanah, & Imhoff, 2013;Larsen, Donaldson, & Mohanty, 2020;Swami, Weis, Lay, Barron, & Furnham, 2016). ...
... This was the case both when the mediator was tested alone and when accounting for the other mediators. As such, it appears that those high in grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism believe in conspiracy theories, in part, because they are prone to having odd and unusual beliefs Miller et al., 2013;Miller et al., 2018;Thomas et al., 2012;Wright et al., 2013; but see also Grigoras & Wille, 2017). If, for example, a person high in grandiose or vulnerable narcissism believes that advertisements in magazines or on TV were written especially for them, it would likely not be a stretch for them to also believe that a secret organization planted those messages there. ...
Article
The present cross-sectional study (NParticipants = 397; NInformants = 460) examined the association of both grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism with conspiracy beliefs in the context of four theoretically-relevant mediators. Participants who were higher in grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, seemingly because they were more likely to hold unusual beliefs. There was, likewise, some evidence to suggest that vulnerable narcissists believe in conspiracy theories because they suffer from paranoia, whereas grandiose narcissists believe in conspiracy theories because of a desire to be unique. Together, these results suggest that the conspiracist ideation seen among grandiose and vulnerable narcissists is a consequence of features that are shared between and unique to each of the traits.
... In Wissing and Reinhard (2017), they ranged from .35 to .62, with a correlation of .68 with the composite Dark Triad score. In Grigoras and Wille (2017), they ranged from .34 to .44. Interestingly, the Grigoras and Wille (2017) study showed that instead of callousness, grandiosity or superiority emerged as the only maladaptive personality facet that correlated with each dark trait. ...
... In Grigoras and Wille (2017), they ranged from .34 to .44. Interestingly, the Grigoras and Wille (2017) study showed that instead of callousness, grandiosity or superiority emerged as the only maladaptive personality facet that correlated with each dark trait. It further showed that psychopathological traits, especially Antagonism, outperformed FFM traits in explanations of Machiavellianism and narcissism. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this research (N = 268) was to explore several compelling candidates for the Dark Core of the broader set of dark and light traits by using network analysis and analyses of shared variance. Several previously proposed cores were tested: primary psychopathy, narcissistic rivalry, Honesty-Humility, Aggressiveness, Selfishness, Antagonism and its callousness facet as well as emotional competency, including its emotionality facet as negative aspect of callousness. The results showed that central elements in this network are primary psychopathy, callousness, pathological selfishness, Machiavellianism, and narcissistic rivalry. Furthermore, among basic traits, Antagonism shared the highest percentage with the dark traits, especially its facet callousness, which is the best candidate for the Dark Core. The combination of callousness, deceitfulness, and grandiosity shared 92% of the total common variance with dark traits and it could be seen as the Antagonistic Triad or alternative Dark Triad.
... In terms of a mediator that might be shared by both forms of narcissism, one possible candidate is delusional ideation (i.e., a predisposition towards odd or unusual beliefs). Potentially as a prerequisite of the grandiose fantasies entertained by grandiose narcissists and the delusions of persecution suffered by vulnerable narcissists, both forms of narcissism do appear to be linked to psychoticism and the tendency to hold odd and unusual beliefs Miller, Gentile, Wilson, & Campbell, 2013;Miller et al., 2018;Thomas, Wright, Lukowitsky, Donnellan, & Hopwood, 2012;Wright et al., 2013; but see also Grigoras & Wille, 2017). The tendency to have these beliefs has, in turn, been linked to conspiracist ideation (Barron et al., 2018;Brotherton, French, & Pickering, 2013;Bruder, Haffke, Neave, Nouripanah, & Imhoff, 2013;Larsen, Donaldson, & Mohanty, 2020;Swami, Weis, Lay, Barron, & Furnham, 2016). ...
... This was the case both when the mediator was tested alone and when accounting for the other mediators. As such, it appears that those high in grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism believe in conspiracy theories, in part, because they are prone to having odd and unusual beliefs Miller, Gentile, Wilson, & Campbell, 2013;Miller et al., 2018;Thomas, Wright, Lukowitsky, Donnellan, & Hopwood, 2012;Wright et al., 2013; but see also Grigoras & Wille, 2017). If, for example, a person high in grandiose or vulnerable narcissism believes that advertisements in magazines or on TV were written especially for them, it would likely not be a stretch for them to also believe that a secret organization planted those messages there. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
A number of recent studies have examined whether those high in grandiose narcissism are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Few studies have, however, considered whether those high in vulnerable narcissism are also apt to believe in conspiracy theories, and none have attempted to identify the mechanisms that link these two forms of narcissism to conspiracy beliefs. The present study (N Participants = 397; N Informants = 460) investigated the relation of both grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism with conspiracist ideation in the context of four theoretically-relevant mediators: (a) delusional ideation, (b) paranoia, (c) the need for uniqueness, and (d) the desire for control. Participants who were higher in grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, seemingly because they were more likely to hold odd and unusual beliefs. There was, likewise, some evidence to suggest that those high in vulnerable narcissism believe in conspiracy theories because they suffer from paranoia, whereas those high in grandiose narcissism believe in conspiracy theories because of a desire to be unique. Together, these results suggest that the conspiracist ideation seen among those high in grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism is a consequence of features that are shared between and unique to each of the two traits.
... The Dark Triad-psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism-comprises features closely connected to DSM-5 personality disorder symptoms (Grigoras & Wille, 2017). These three variables predispose individuals to many undesirable life outcomes, including addictive behaviors (Jauk & Dieterich, 2019), impaired job performance (O'Boyle et al., 2012), and many interpersonal problems (Jones & Neria, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between the Dark Triad and depressive symptoms is controversial. While some studies have reported negative correlations, then suggesting a protective effect of the Dark Triad traits against depression, evidence sometimes indicates the opposite, that is, that dark traits co-occur with depression. An additional issue is that these associations could be moderated by sex, a hypothesis yet to be tested. In the current study, we intended to investigate the relationship between the Dark Triad traits and the variables depression and life satisfaction, besides testing the role of sex as a potential moderator in these relationships. Participants were 488 undergraduate students, with ages from 18 to 72 years (M = 29.51; SD = 10.55; 75.6% females), who responded to the Short Dark Triad, the Baptista’s Depression Scale, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Results from the Structural Equation Modeling indicated that each Dark Triad trait manifested a unique pattern of relationships to depression and life satisfaction. Nevertheless, we found no evidence of moderation by sex in the relationship that the dark traits have with depression and life satisfaction. Findings from the present study reveal a complex relationship of pathological traits with mental health/disorder variables, with comparable patterns occurring for both sexes.
... Clinically significant levels of narcissism and psychopathy may be diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), respectively (18). While Machiavellianism is not a personality disorder, the dark triad has been uniquely associated with personality disorders, as determined by the Personality Inventory for the DSM-5 (19), suggesting distinct profiles for each dark triad trait in regard to clinically maladaptive traits (20). Dark triad traits also play a pivotal role in offending patterns, as individuals higher on the dark personality spectrum are deceitful, amoral, with shallow empathy and reduced guilt after moral transgressions, and thus are more likely to bend social rules and, in some cases, perpetrate crimes (21,22). ...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of evidence links the late chronotype to mental illness, aggression, and aversive personality traits. However, much of what we know about these associations is based on healthy cohorts, and it is unclear how individuals with high levels of aggression, including forensic psychiatric populations, but not offenders, are affected. The present study aimed to measure chronotype in a forensic psychiatric inpatient population, evaluate the impact of diagnosis, and identify any interactive relationships between chronotype, diagnosis, aggression, and dark triad traits. Subjects completed the reduced Morningness–Eveningness Questionnaire (rMEQ), Munich ChronoType Questionnaire (MCTQ), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Buss Perry Aggression Questionnaire–Short Form (BPAQ-SF), and Short Dark Triad Questionnaire (SD3). We sampled 55 forensic psychiatric patients (52 males) between the ages of 23 and 73 years (mean ± SD: 39.6 ± 14.3 years). Among the patients sampled, 25% were evening types and 36% were morning types. Eveningness was greater in patients with a personality disorder; however, no chronotype differences were found for psychosis patients. Patients without psychosis had a positive association between anger and eveningness, as well as between hostility and eveningness. For subjects with a substance use disorder, morningness was positively associated with narcissism. Conversely, an association between eveningness and greater narcissism was identified in patients who did not have a substance use disorder. These findings suggest that, compared to the general population, evening types are more prevalent in forensic psychiatric populations, with the strongest preference among patients diagnosed with a personality disorder. No differences in chronotype were identified for psychosis patients, which may be related to anti-psychotic medication dosing. Given the sex distribution of the sample, these findings may be more relevant to male populations.
Article
The Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5) evaluates 25 maladaptive personality traits proposed in the Alternative Model of Personality Disorders. The questionnaire has been extensively investigated and validated in several languages. The current research sought to examine the psychometric properties of the instrument in a sample of nonclinical Romanian participants (N = 1276). Results indicated excellent internal consistency for the domain level, and very good reliability for the facet level. The assumption of unidimensionality was supported at both the domain and facet levels, apart from Risk Taking. Two domain scoring methods were also compared. One of them takes into consideration all the 25 lower order facets, whereas the other uses only 15 facets. Results show that mean differences across the two scoring methods were small, except for Disinhibition. Moreover, confirmatory factor analyses revealed slightly better fit indices for the model which uses 15 facets only. Lastly, the hierarchical structure of maladaptive personality traits was explored. Results are discussed in the light of previous literature.
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Network analysis offers an opportunity to gain a more nuanced view of the connections between the darker aspects of personality by examining the interrelationships between the components that make up these constructs. We examined the associations that five dark personality dispositions (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, sadism, and spitefulness) had with pathological personality traits (i.e., antagonism, disinhibition, detachment, negative affectivity, and psychoticism) via network analysis. These dark personality networks were examined in four studies (N = 1,800), wherein the second study attempted to replicate the network from the first study, while the last two studies incorporated more specific and independent measures of dark personality features (e.g., grandiose and vulnerable narcissism). Although there were differences across network structures in these studies, the pathological personality trait of antagonism consistently evinced high expected influence centrality (i.e., it was the most strongly connected and possibly influential trait in each network). Our discussion focuses on the implications of these results for the understanding of the connections between the darker aspects of personality.
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In two studies (N= 504) we looked through the lens of Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory to understand the Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism). In Study 1, the Dark Triad traits were correlated with negative affectivity, reward sensitivity, the fight system, and dysfunctional impulsivity. In Study 2, the Dark Triad traits were associated with a fight response. Sex differences in the Dark Triad traits were present in Study 1 but proved more allusive in Study 2, but were mediated by individual differences in fight systems (Study 2) and reward and punishment sensitivity (Study 1). Narcissism was associated with Behavioral Activation and Inhibition Systems across studies and measures. Results are consistent with the adaptive coordination expected by evolutionary psychologists who study the Dark Triad traits.
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