Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 1
[Note: we wrote the registered report as if data was already collected and hypotheses were supported. This will
be changed after data search/coding/analyses if that is not the case]
In this meta-analysis registered report we examined the relationship between Dark Triad
personality traits (i.e., psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism; Paulhus & Williams;
2002) and sadism (Chabrol, Van Leeuwen, Rodgers, & Séjourné, 2009) with personal values
(Schwartz, 1992). Across xx studies, we found consistent associations between four dark
traits and the four high-order values dimensions, with slightly different patterns for each of
the traits. Dark Triad traits showing the strongest positive correlations with self-enhancement
and openness to change dimensions, and negative associations with the opposite dimensions
on the values circumplex - self-transcendence and conservation. Shape consistency for the
dark triad associations was stronger for self-enhancement versus self-transcendence values
tension, than for the openness-to-change versus conservation values. Sadism too showed
similar relationship profiles with value dimensions.
Keywords: Dark triad, Personal values, meta-analysis, registered report
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 2
Values and the dark side: Meta-analysis of links between
Dark Triad and sadism traits with personal values
The last two decades have witnessed the emergence of a large body of literature on the
Dark Triad model with empirical studies examining their structure, genetic origin (Vernon,
Villani, Vickers, & Harris, 2008), associations with other personality models (Jones &
Paulhus, 2011; Lee & Ashton, 2014), their impact on attitudes (Egan, Hughes, & Palmer,
2015; Kavanagh, Signal, & Taylor, 2013), and behavioural outcomes (Harms, Spain, &
Hannah, 2011; Hodson, Hogg, & MacInnis, 2009; Jonason, Li, Webster & Schmitt, 2009). In
recent years, researchers became especially interested in a motivational underpinning of the
Dark Triad, with initial studies mapping associations between the triad and values, long-term
Presently, the intuitive predictions of the Dark Triad’s associations with the less social
and more hedonistic values received some support in the literature (Jonason, Strosser, Kroll,
Duineveld, & Baruffi, 2015; Kajonius, Persson, & Jonason, 2015). The relative strength and
direction of these associations tends to vary across traits and motivations, as for example the
association between narcissism and either conservation or self-transcendence values from the
Schwartz values framework (Balakrishnan, Plouffe, & Saklosfske, 2017; Güngör, Eksi, &
Arikak, 2012; Rogoza, Wyszyńska, Maćkiewicz, & Ciecuch, 2016). Thus far there have been
no systematic mappings of these associations and aggregated comparisons of their relative
strengths to help form a unified framework connecting distinct profiles for each trait, to
possibly try and reconcile conceptual conflicts and empirically overlapping findings (Muris,
Merckelbach, Otgaar, & Meljer; 2017). Here, we posit that whilst these traits may possess
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 3
some empirical overlap, each trait may differ in their motivational underpinning and values
In recent years, scholars have also begun examining trait sadism as an extension to the
Dark Triad model, showing its relative independence to the Dark Triad traits and showed its
prediction power towards socially undesirable behaviours as well (Buckels, Jones, & Paulhus,
2013; Chabrol et al., 2009). Sadism has also been examined both independently (Kinnunen,
Lindeman, & Verkasalo, 2016) as well as alongside the Dark Triad (Balakrishnan et al., 2017)
in terms of its relationship with value associations.
The present investigation aims to contribute to the literature on value-trait associations
(Güngör et al., 2012; Kajonius et al., 2015; Ljubin-Golub & Sokić, 2016; Persson, 2014;
Roccas, Sagiv, Schwartz, & Knafo, 2002; Rogoza et al., 2016) and extend to examine the
overall pattern of associations between personal values with Dark Triad traits and sadism. We
begin with a theoretical account of the Dark Triad model, the Schwartz value framework, and
their possible links, and then then proceed to report a pre-registered meta-analysis of the
literature on the relationships between Dark Triad traits and personal values.
The Dark Triad is a cluster of three malevolent personality traits, characterised by
their anti-social and self-oriented attributes (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). Briefly, psychopathy
is characterised by impulsive, thrill-seeking, and callous nature, Machiavellianism by
manipulative, glibness, and cynic nature, and narcissism by self-loving, grandiose, and
entitled nature. The Dark Triad model identified these three key constructs as the most
prominent dark personality traits that had were covered by a large body of literature and were
highly aversive yet still not entirely outside accepted norms (Furnham, Richards, & Paulhus,
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 4
Over a wide range of contexts, empirical literature examining these traits mostly
associated them with undesirable outcomes such as exploitative mating strategies (Jonason,
Girgis, & Milne-Home, 2017), counterproductive work behaviour (O’Boyle Jr, Forsyth,
Banks, & McDaniel, 2012), abusive supervision at work (Wisse & Sleebos, 2016), and
differentiated cheating strategies (Baughman, Jonason, Lyons, & Vernon, 2014). However,
these traits have also been associated with positive outcomes that enable the individual to “get
ahead of” but not “get along with” others in the workplace (Furnham et al., 2013, p.206;
Hogan, 2007). This is particularly seen in the corporate world, where trait psychopathy and
narcissism have been found to be positively related to leadership (Mathieu, Neumann, Hare,
& Babiak, 2014; Rosenthal & Pittinsky, 2006).
Since then, scholars have sought to extend the Dark Triad model to include sadism,
the tendency to enjoy cruelty at the cost of others (Baumeister & Campbell, 1999). Examples
of everyday sadism include situations such as viewing violent movies or enjoying combat
fights (Baumeister & Campbell, 1999). Calling this the Dark Tetrad, validation work has
depicted sadism as being sufficiently distinct from the other traits, warranting it as a fourth
construct in this dark cluster of traits (Book et al., 2016; Mendedović & Petrović, 2015).
Sadism has been linked to undesirable outcomes, such as acts of cruelty (Buckels et al.,
2013), and violent video game preferences (Greitemeyer, 2015).
In Table 1 we summarize a list of common measures used for the Dark Triad.
Structurally, there has been increasing concern about the Dark Triad traits sharing high inter-
correlations (Muris et al., 2017). Whilst this supports the original conceptualisation that these
traits are “evil allies of personality” (Muris et al. 2017, p. 189), from a factor perspective it
remains contentious as to whether these traits are sufficiently distinct for the triadic model to
hold. Multiple meta-analytic examinations posit that the Dark Triad should be reduced to the
Dark Dyad, with Machiavellianism collapsed under psychopathy as they share substantial
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 5
overlap in variance, and narcissism remaining a distinct factor of its own (Muris et al. 2017;
O’Boyle Jr, Forsyth, Banks, Story, & White, 2014; Vize, Lynam, Collison, & Miller, 2018).
This proposal is reasonable, given that both psychopathy and Machiavellianism are more
oriented towards affecting others with their actions, such as political behaviour at work (Liu
& Liu, 2018), or cruelty to others (Dadds, Whiting, & Hawes, 2006), whereas narcissism is
more self-oriented and predicts more behaviours that affects self-presentation, such as
engagement in selecting Facebook profile pictures to enhance likeability (Kapidzic, 2013).
Especially when the shared variance between the Dark Triad traits have been taken into
accounted for, meta-analyses have also suggested that psychopathy appears to be the core of
the model and subsumes narcissism as well (Glenn & Sellbom, 2015, Muris et al., 2017).
Despite empirical findings showing substantial overlap between the Dark Triad traits,
many recent reviews and meta-analyses still assume that each trait remains conceptually
distinct, resulting in dissonance about the validity of this model (Furnham et al., 2013; Muris
et al. 2017; O’Boyle Jr et al., 2014; Vize et al., 2018). Further, although sadism is shown to be
empirically distinct, the high overlap it shares with the Dark Triad has been argued to be a
signal that it is a manifestation of the model, rather than a disposition (Book et al., 2016). A
clearer depiction of whether sadism stands as a construct of equivalent level to the Dark
Triad, or if it can be subsumed under the umbrella of traits as a shared secondary tendency is
needed. We hope that this meta-analysis may offer an additional perspective in understanding
where both similarity and variance can co-exist in this model – by examining associations
with personal value orientations.
Personal values are long-term motivational goals that people deem important in their
lives (Schwartz, 1992). Values are generally stable in nature, yet they can also be reordered
depending on one’s social experiences and normative expectations (Bilsky & Schwartz, 1994,
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 6
Rokeach, 1973). Currently, the dominant model in values literature is Schwartz’s personal
values theory (1992). Traditionally, this model postulated ten universal values (power,
achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, conformity,
security, and tradition). The values follow a consistent circular structure such that values that
underlie a similar universal motivation will be positioned closer to each other. Within the
Schwartz circumplex model, values that are positioned opposite to each other can be
considered as values with opposing motivations. The ten values are nested under four higher
order dimensions that are listed on two orthogonal axes and are considered as two sets of
underlying general motivations that oppose each other - self-transcendence versus self-
enhancement; and openness to change versus conservation. This value model has received
universal support (Schwartz, 2011), and has been found to be considered as a system of
related values, rather than independently distinct values (Schwartz, 1996). The values
circumplex structure is outlined in Figure 1 and sample items from the 10 values categories
are provided in Table 2. In Table 3 we summarize a list of commonly used measures for the
Schwartz values model.
The stable motivational quality of values distinguishes them from other goal-specific
constructs (Maio, 2010). Though considered abstract, values have been shown to predict a
range of value-serving attitudes and behaviours (Bardi & Schwartz, 2003; Grunert, & Juhl,
1995; Hitlin & Piliavin, 2004; Lipponen, Bardi, & Haapamäki, 2010; Roccas & Sagiv, 2010).
Of specific interest to this meta-analysis, values predict unethical decision making and
behaviour (Feldman, Chao, Farh, & Bardi, 2015; Fritzsche & Oz, 2007; Menesini, Nocetini,
& Camodeca, 2013), which have previously been associated with those higher on the Dark
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 7
Relationship between traits and values
Despite the similar conceptualisation between traits and values, there is ample
empirical evidence suggesting these are distinct constructs (Fischer & Boer, 2015; Kajonius et
al., 2015; Roccas et al., 2002). Bilsky and Schwartz (1994, p.165) aptly distinguishes traits
and values in three ways, “(1) Personality traits are typically seen as descriptions of observed
patterns of behaviour, whereas values are criteria individuals use to judge the desirability of
behaviour, people, and events. (2) Personality-traits vary in terms of how much of a
characteristic individuals exhibit, whereas values vary in terms of the importance that
individuals attribute to particular goals. (3) Personality describe actions presumed to flow
from ‘what persons are like’ regardless of their intentions, whereas values refer to the
individual’s intentional goals that are available to consciousness.” Taken together, the main
difference between traits and values, is that traits signal the predisposition to act, but values
signal the motivations that one holds internally.
Recent meta-analyses (Fischer & Boer, 2015; Parks-Leduc, Feldman, & Bardi, 2015)
further elaborated on the similarities and differences between the two constructs and
presented theoretically meaningful associations between the Big Five personality traits and
Schwartz’s values. Personal values were shown to be more strongly related to cognitive based
traits than emotionally based traits (Parks-Leduc et al., 2015), and contextual factors were
shown to affect the association between these two constructs (Fischer & Boer, 2015).
Relationship between the Dark Triad and personal values
There is growing interest in the link between the Dark Triad and personal values
(Balakrishnan et al., 2017; Güngör et al., 2012; Jonason et al., 2015; Kajonius et al., 2015;
Persson, 2014). Existing studies have so far shown that Dark Triad traits are positively related
with self-enhancement and openness to change values, and negatively related to self-
transcendence values and conservation values (Kaufman, Yaden, Hyde, & Tsukayama, 2019).
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 8
These findings fit with the characterization of the Dark Triad as being self-centred, antisocial,
sensation-seeking (Crysel, Crosier, & Webster, 2013), and callous about the well-being or
interests of others (Jonason et al., 2015). However, despite the Dark Triad sharing similar
value orientations, research in this area has yet to evaluate how each trait is unique in how
strong they might be motivated by a specific value. We believe that this reconciles how the
Dark Triad can both share overlapping variance yet remain distinct by their difference in
In Figure 2 we outlined an initial simplified suggested mapping of the grouped three
traits on the values circumplex structure. In the next sections we hypothesize on finer-grained
associations further differentiating between the Dark Triad traits based on their expected
Research aim and hypotheses
Broadly, we seek to examine: 1) The pattern of relationships between each of the Dark
Triad traits and personal values, and 2) factors that moderate the associations. At its core, the
Dark Triad has been shown to be strongly representative of or associated with low
agreeableness (Jonason, Kaufman, Webster, & Geher, 2013; Vize, Collinson, Miller, &
Lynam, 2020). Further, meta-analyses found negative associations between agreeableness and
self-enhancement value dimensions, and positive associations between agreeableness and
self-transcendence and conservation value dimensions (Fischer & Boer, 2015; Parks-Leduc et
al., 2015). As such, we would largely expect that the Dark Triad traits will be positively
related to self-enhancement, and negatively related to self-transcendence and conservation.
However, as we go in depth to theorise on the relation between each trait with value
dimensions, we might expect variation between our overall expectations and individual
hypotheses relating to each trait with each value dimension.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 9
Psychopathy is characterised by callousness, impulsivity, and a lack of remorse
(Paulhus & Williams, 2002). The lack of inhibition to engage in immoral acts for gains
(Schouten & Silver, 2012) can result in parasitic efforts to gain benefits at the expense of
others at work (Boddy, 2006; Babiak & Hare, 2006). This suggests that psychopathy is a
highly self-oriented trait, motivated by self-gains. This is supported by recent studies that
consistently show positive associations between psychopathy and values that are more
oriented towards enhancing oneself, such as power and achievement (Glenn, Efferson, Iyer, &
Graham, 2017; Jonason et al., 2015; Persson, 2014). Further, the need for stimulation and
hedonism are highly characteristic of individuals high in trait psychopathy, as exhibited by
higher tendencies to engage in substance abuse (Benning, Patrick, Hicks, Blonigen, &
Krueger, 2003). This is also supported by positive correlations found consistently shown
between psychopathy and openness to change values (Balakrishnan et al., 2017; Jonason et
al., 2015; Kajonius et al., 2015; Ljubin-Golub & Sokić, 2016).
Individuals high in trait psychopathy also tend to value the welfare of others to a much
lesser degree than their own. Jonason and Zeigler-Hill (2018) found negative associations
between psychopathy and the motivation to develop and maintain good relationships with
others. Psychopathy was also associated with being less motivated in focusing on the
partner’s needs during sex (Smith, Overup, & Webster, 2019). This supports existing findings
that psychopathy is negatively related to self-transcendence and conservation values (Jonason
et al., 2015; Kajonius et al., 2015; Ljubin-Golub & Sokić, 2016).
We hypothesise the following relationships between psychopathy with personal
Hypothesis 1: Psychopathy is associated with self-enhancement (+), openness
to change, (+), self-transcendence (-), and conservation (-) values.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 10
Based on our predicted orthogonal hypotheses for psychopathy with the value
dimensions, we also expect a sinusoidal pattern displayed when these observed value
associations are mapped on the circumplex structure of the value model. Following Boer and
Fischer’s shape consistency method (2013), and based on past literature finding strongest
associations with the self-enhancement and self-transcendence values dimensions (Kajonius
et al., 2015; Persson, 2014) we expect that psychopathy will be sinusoidal shaped where the
peaks and valleys are observed in the self-enhancement versus self-transcendence dimensions
Hypothesis 2: A sinusoid correlational pattern is observed between
psychopathy and the values in order of the circumplex structure, with the self-
enhancement and self-transcendence tension having stronger associations with
psychopathy compared to openness to change versus conservation tension (i.e.,
stronger negative SET consistency shape than CO consistency shape).
With increasing evidence that Machiavellianism highly overlaps with psychopathy in
variance, and that it might even be a subset of the latter trait (Muris et al., 2017; O’Boyle et
al., 2014), we predict that Machiavellianism will be similar to psychopathy in terms of the
relationships held with personal values. However, the strengths of the correlations for
Machiavellianism may be weaker than the correlations found for psychopathy, which we will
expand on more in the exploratory hypothesis in the next section below.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 11
We hypothesise the following relationships between Machiavellianism with personal
Hypothesis 3: Machiavellianism is associated with self-enhancement (+),
openness to change (+), self-transcendence (-), and conservation (-) values.
We again expect a sinusoidal pattern for Machiavellianism to be similar to that of
Hypothesis 4: A sinusoid correlational pattern is observed between
Machiavellianism and the values in order of the circumplex structure, with the
self-enhancement and self-transcendence tension having stronger associations
with Machiavellianism compared to openness to change versus conservation
tension (i.e., stronger negative SET consistency shape than CO consistency
Compared to psychopathy and Machiavellianism, narcissism is rather paradoxical in
that individuals high in this trait are characterised as “disagreeable extraverts” (Rogoza et al.
2016, p.88), as it is associated with both antisocial and prosocial behaviours (Kauten & Barry;
2016; Konrath, Ho, & Zarins, 2016; Grijalva et al., 2015). Grijalva et al. (2015) posits the
paradoxical nature of narcissism to stem from its different facets leading to different
outcomes separately. Similarly, studies have found that different facets of narcissism were
associated with different value dimensions (Güngör et al., 2012; Rogoza et al., 2016).
Whereas narcissism consistently positively correlates with self-enhancement and openness to
change values, there are mixed findings as to whether it is on the whole associated with
conservation or self-transcendence values, and if so, whether the association is positive or
negative (Balakrishnan et al., 2017; Güngör et al., 2012; Jonason et al., 2015; Kajonius et al.,
2015; Rogoza et al., 2016).
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 12
We hypothesise the following relationships between narcissism with personal values:
Hypothesis 5: Narcissism is associated with self-enhancement (+) and
openness to change (+) values.
The positive association between narcissism and extraversion further lends support to
our hypothesis (Muris et al., 2017), given that extraversion is consistently positively related to
self-enhancement and openness to change values (Fischer & Boer, 2015; Parks-Leduc et al.,
2015). Additionally, there is no consistent relationship found between extraversion and
conservation or self-transcendence. Further, given extant mixed findings on the associations
for narcissism with conservation and self-transcendence values, it is unclear what sinusoid
correlational pattern would emerge for the relationship between narcissism and the high-order
values dimensions on the circumplex structure. We thus make no predictions about the
As the extension to the Dark Triad model, sadism is perceived as a tendency to engage
in cruelty towards others to derive pleasure. This trait is other-oriented and focuses on how
the individuals enjoy themselves at the cost of others. Studies examining relationships support
this argument, by showing negative associations with self-transcendence and conservation
values (Balakrishnan et al., 2017; Kinnunen et al., 2016). Further, because sadism is
associated with the act of achieving dominance (Balakrishnan et al., 2017; Buckels et al.,
2013; Hébert & Weaver, 2014), sadism could be associated with self-enhancement and
because they are motivated to achieve gaining power, in order to be in a state of hedonistic
enjoyment. However, as little is known about how sadism is related to openness to change
values, we make no prediction about this relationship.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 13
We hypothesise the following relationships between sadism with personal values:
Hypothesis 6: Sadism is associated with self-enhancement (+), self-
transcendence (-), and conservation (-) values.
Further, given limited studies on sadism being associated with self-enhancement, self-
transcendence, and conservation values, it is also unclear what sinusoid correlational pattern
would emerge for the relationship between narcissism and the high-order values dimensions
on the circumplex structure. We thus make no predictions about the correlational pattern. We
note, that due to limited number of studies discovered examining this relationship in our pre-
test searches, we set to only conduct analyses on these hypotheses about the link between
sadism and values if we are able to identify at least five suitable studies.
Exploratory tests and moderators
Comparing associations of Machiavellianism and psychopathy
We will also examine whether the shape consistency and strength of relationships
between Dark Triad and personal values varies when comparing the different Dark Triad
traits. Based on the current literature suggesting the high overlap between Machiavellianism
and psychopathy (Muris et al., 2017), we expect the following:
Hypothesis 7a: The associations between Machiavellianism and personal
values is weaker than the associations found between psychopathy and
personal values (as indicated by comparison of shape consistency and the
Yet we also entertain the following competing hypothesis:
Hypothesis 7b: The associations between Machiavellianism and personal
values is stronger than the associations found between psychopathy and
personal values (as indicated by comparison of shape consistency and the
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 14
Comparing subscale measures of the Dark Triad
Further, there has been some debate as to the conceptualisation of the Dark Triad as a
unidimensional construct, where in fact they may represent rich multi-faceted personality
traits (Miller, Vize, Crowe & Lynam, 2019; Watts, Waldman, Smith, Poore, & Lilienfeld,
2017). In order to understand how each Dark Triad trait is associated with certain value
orientations, it may be valuable to also conduct moderator analyses using the different
subscale measures, such as NARQ-Admiration subscale (Back et al., 2013), or LSRP-F1
(Levenson et al., 1995). However, to our knowledge this has not been previously examined in
this literature, we therefore make no predictions as to what specific domains of each Dark
Triad trait will be associated with the value dimensions. We also note, that is it possible,
perhaps even likely, that there would not be sufficient studies reporting subscale level
associations for us to be able to conduct meaningful meta-analytic analyses. For this test, we
set a minimum number of studies to five in order to run such analyses.
Comparing measurement scales used for traits and values
Across empirical studies, different instruments were used to measure the Dark Triad
and personal values (see Tables 1 and 2). This may limit generalizability as different
instruments may tap into varying facets and capture different variance of the same construct
(Parks-Leduc et al., 2015). In a study by Balakrishnan et al. (2017), the use of a 27-item
composite Dark Triad measure (Jones & Paulhus, 2014) and individual measures of
psychopathy (Forth, Brown, Hart, & Hare, 1996), Machiavellianism (Christie & Geis, 1970),
and narcissism (Raskin & Hall, 1979), yielded different correlational strengths for the same
construct with personal values. For example, Machiavellianism and benevolence were found
to be negatively correlated using the individual measure (r = -0.26), but with weaker effects
when using the composite measure (r = -.13). Thus, the nature of personality measures
(individual or composite) measuring the Dark Triad may have a moderating effect on the
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 15
correlational strength of the relationships found between traits and values. We therefore set
the following exploratory hypothesis:
Hypothesis 9: Relationships between Dark Triad traits and personal values are
different (stronger or weaker) for studies when measured using individual
Dark Triad measures compared to studies using composite Dark Triad
The type of value instruments used may also impact effects found for relationships
between values and traits. Parks-Leduc et al. (2015) found that more than half of the
relationships examined between values and the Big Five traits using null-hypothesis
significance testing were different between studies that utilised the Schwartz Values Survey
(SVS; Schwartz; 1992) versus studies that utilised the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ;
Schwartz et al., 2001). Further, Boer and Fischer (2013) also found differences between
studies that used either of these two instruments on the association between attitudes and
values. Thus, we examine studies using these two specific types of instruments for possible
Parks-Leduc et al. (2015) indicated that "in general [...] PVQ had stronger
relationships with traits than the SVS" (p. 19). They explained that SVS measures abstract
values directly whereas the PVQ was developed from the SVS with more concrete examples
asking participants to compare themselves to people's profiles and is therefore less cognitively
complex. They summarized that "As the PVQ has trait-like elements, it is likely to result in
inflated trait–value correlations compared with the SVS" (p. 19). As we are also examining
values-trait associations, we expected that:
Hypothesis 10: Relationships between Dark Triad traits and personal values
are stronger for studies that measure values using the PVQ compared to
studies using the SVS.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 16
Statistical adjustments for values scale use
Parks-Leduc et al. (2015) suggested that analysing values requires a different approach
compared to traits. As values are perceived in relation to other values, controlling for the
mean importance of these values is encouraged (Schwartz, 1992). However, studies
measuring associations between Dark Triad and personal values do not consistently mean
centre. This may result in varying trait-value associations.
Hypothesis 11: Relationships between Dark Triad traits and personal values
are different (stronger or weaker) for studies that test values associations using
mean centering compared to studies that do not (exploratory).
Publication status will be examined for possible moderating effects on the
relationships between Dark Triad personality traits and personal values to examine for
possible publication biases in extant literature. Several meta-analyses (Flore & Wicherts,
2015; Lewis & Michalak, 2019; Nguyen & Ryan, 2008) have suggested signs of publication
bias, which can distort the true effect size of the relationships between the variables of
interest. Based on this, we would expect that studies that have published status are likely to
report stronger correlations than studies that are unpublished, yielding stronger effect sizes.
Hypothesis 12: Relationships between Dark Triad traits and personal values is
stronger for published studies compared to unpublished studies.
Demographic differences will also be examined for possible moderating effects on the
relationships between Dark Triad personality traits and personal values, as research has
demonstrated that there are population differences in the composition of the Dark Triad
depending on gender (Muris et al., 2017), WEIRD samples (Jonason et al., 2020), and age
groups (O'Boyle et al., 2013). However, as there is scarce theoretical backing for specific
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 17
differences between demographic groups on influencing the relationships of interest, we make
no hypotheses. Results for these moderator analyses can be found in the supplemental
[Note: Written in past tense to demonstrate methods section after completion, but has yet to be conducted. Will be filled and
updated after pre-registration and data collection.]
We shared all procedures, materials, datasets, and code on the Open Science
[PLEASE NOTE: Coding sheet and example R code on simulated dataset based on the
suggested coding sheet is available on that page for your reference. We would very much
appreciate a code review and feedback on the coding sheet.]
We posted a notice on ResearchGate asking authors to alert us to possible related
articles yet systematic data collection has not yet commenced for this project. There are no
other unreported/unlinked pre-registrations for this meta-analysis project.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 18
For ease of analysis, interpretation, and presentation, reporting will focus on
aggregates and reported in terms of associations between the Dark Triad traits higher-value
dimensions (4 traits x 4 higher-value dimensions). Generalized details on lower level values
links are reported in the supplementary materials and provided in the accompanied dataset.
Studies including measures of Dark Triad traits and the Schwartz values will be
included in our study (see Tables 1 and 2 for a list of measures).
The meta-analysis process is outlined in Figure 3.
Multiple strategies were used for gathering all studies that included measures of the
Dark Triad and Schwartz values (see Figure 4 for an overview of the search strategy). First,
we carried out a literature search on Google Scholar, which has been shown to be suitable for
gathering articles for meta-analyses (Gehanno, Rollin, & Darmoni, 2013), PsycINFO,
Proquest, and Web of Science. Combinations of keywords focusing on the Dark Triad and
Schwartz values were used to conduct systematic searches of the specified database. Exact
combinations and patterns that were used can be found in the associated coding sheet
document (“Final Search Patterns Record”). These search patterns were pre-tested, and each
finalised pattern to be used were pre-run to check for suitability of search results. More
information of the search pattern process can be found in the coding sheet under tabs prefixed
with “pretest1” and “pretest2”.
The following were the specific keyword stems to be used in the search: 1) Trait-
related keywords, 2) Value-related keywords. Boolean Logic operators such as “OR”, and
“AND” will be used in the search pattern to connect the trait and value related keywords. An
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 19
asterisk was appended to keywords to allow for searches of truncated variations of keywords
that may be spelled differently (e.g. “psychopathy” vs. “psychopaths”, Robinson & Dickersin,
2002). The asterisk, along with variations of keywords were also included in the search along
with original keywords specified to ensure that all studies examining the specific constructs
are captured in the search. The list of keywords can be found in the coding sheet (“Final
Keywords Record”). An example of the general format for our search pattern was as follows:
(“psychopathy” OR “psychopath*”) AND (“values” OR “value*”). Once all search patterns
had been exhausted and an initial list was specified, duplicate records input by the researcher
in the article list were identified and removed. Database searches for each search pattern was
terminated after combing through 30 records consecutively without potentially relevant
papers that fit the inclusion criteria.
Next, a search for relevant papers not listed in the first search was conducted, by
searching for papers listed under the “related articles” and “cited by” features where available
in the database using the identified list of articles. Another search for relevant papers was also
conducted, by searching for papers listed under the “cited by” feature where available in the
database using the common measurements identified based on a pre-review of existing
empirical studies conducted by researchers during the writing up of this registered report (see
Tables 1 and 2). Additionally, one more search for relevant papers was also conducted by
skimming the reference sections of identified articles from our primary search.
Further, we identified authors in the fields of the Dark Triad and Schwartz values
literature, searched through their available papers and contacted them, along with authors of
other identified articles to ensure full coverage and maximise access to unpublished data
and/or manuscripts that are too relevant (see Appendix A for a mail-merge Word template to
be sent to relevant authors identified).
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 20
Lastly, we issued a call for unpublished findings on online forums and research
platforms (e.g., ResearchGate, listservs). We set up a project on ResearchGate, and all
identified articles was added as references, where possible, to notify authors about this
project, and to provide an open access list of available studies (link:
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
We included studies that reported correlations between at least one of the Dark Triad
traits and one of the Schwartz values/dimensions.
Studies were excluded if they a) experimentally manipulated value orientations, b)
failed to report the crucial statistics necessary for a meta-analysis (i.e., correlation coefficients
and sample size), and the results were not obtainable from the authors), or c) not written in
English (unless all necessary data and information for coding is provided in English or can be
obtained from authors).
Recording Studies during Searches
Studies that met our criteria were coded into “Searched Articles” tab within the coding
sheet. All preliminary studies included in the total search were saved into a cloud folder and
accessible from the project OSF link or directly via: [to be added later]. Articles were scanned
to determine whether they should be included in the main coding sheet or not. If excluded, a
reason will be documented along the article recorded.
Studies that require contacting the author for the dataset/further clarifications were
first included into the main coding sheet, but documented as to be excluded potentially,
should the author not respond by a given date. Authors of studies with missing needed
statistics were contacted for relevant datasets/information. If the dataset was provided, the
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 21
researchers conducted needed analyses for coding. This process and the relevant results are
documented in a tab within the coding sheet. If included, the article record will be added in
the main coding sheet within the tab (“Final Articles”) tab. All final studies included in the
total search are saved into a cloud folder and accessible from the OSF link or directly via:
During the database search, the title and abstract of the study were scanned to assess
for eligibility and recorded onto the list of records in the coding sheet if eligible. A total of
XX published articles, unpublished articles, and datasets were initially identified and
downloaded from the primary search.
In subsequent search strategies, the title and abstract of potential articles were also
scanned to assess for eligibility and added to the list, with indication as a secondary source.
These searches yielded another XX published articles, unpublished articles, and datasets. XX
duplicate articles were then identified and removed.
The remaining XX studies will then be assessed by the principal researcher to
determine its suitability for the meta-analysis, and the co-researcher verified the results. All
decisions on inclusion and exclusion is documented with reasons in the coding sheet. After all
studies were assessed, a final list of XX studies was derived.
Data extraction from the identified studies were recorded on a master coding sheet
(see Supplementary Materials Coding sheet, “Main Coding Sheet” tab). Where available, the
following key variables were recorded into the coding sheet: the correlations between each
Dark Triad and values, the intercorrelations among the Dark Triad traits, type of scales used,
sample demographics, and publication information. Any identified changes to the coding
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 22
sheet structure during the process were documented clearly. Any final decisions to resolve
issues that arose, such as further study exclusions were also documented as well in the coding
sheet (see “Decision Documentation” tab).
During the coding process, if the correlation between a trait variable and a value
variable (e.g. psychopathy and self-transcendence) were reported both on its own, and also as
a result when split by specified moderators (e.g. relationship when participants are male, and
the correlation when participants are female), these results will be listed as separate rows.
Moderator variables will be coded for each study where identified as present and analysed
using a meta-regression.
To ensure similarity in coding perception, the two researchers pre-tested and
conducted coding rounds of three random articles and reached at least 80% agreement before
the main coding began. The principal author coded all articles listed, with verification
conducted by the second author.
We will use R/Rmarkdown, and the metafor packages for the statistical analyses
(Viechtbauer, 2010). We will meta-analyse the relationship of Dark Triad traits and personal
values, as measured by Pearson’s r. Whenever available, we will use correlations obtained
directly from authors of original papers. If correlations and regression coefficients from
multiple regression analyses are both provided in the paper, only the correlations will be used,
as we are only interested in the associations between traits and values, and not the causal
direction which is indicated by coefficients. We will also examine corrections for attenuation
to control for unreliability of measures used for the Dark Triad and Schwartz values. This is
by using the Hunter and Schmidt Method in the metafor package when conducting our meta-
regression analyses. For studies that did not report reliability, we will use the weight-averaged
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 23
reliability calculated for all studies that did report reliability. All conversions and coding
decisions will be documented, and the original text will be included in the coding sheet to
allow for reproducibility.
We will first report our meta-analysis of interrelations between the Dark Triad and
sadism traits. Then, for the main analyses, we will use a random effects model to examine the
relationship between traits and values. Forest plots presenting the effect size of each study
will be produced. Equivalence tests will be conducted to examine whether the effect size
indicates a meaningful association (Lakens, 2017), where a correlation of at least r = .10 is
expected. Additionally, based on the level of heterogeneous effects within this study, we will
run multi-level analyses. Depending on the level of heterogeneity, we will collapse the effects
(default analysis choice) and/or run a multi-level meta-regression. This decision will be
documented and justified based on our observations of the final set of papers coded.
Statistical heterogeneity will then be determined using the Tau2 test and quantified
using I2, which represents the percentage of total variation in a set of studies that is due to
heterogeneity (Higgins, Thompson, Deeks, & Altman, 2003). This meta-analysis will yield a
point estimate, confidence intervals, and p-value, along with statistics for heterogeneity,
assessed using the Q-statistics, and the I2 statistic. If there is indeed heterogeneity, we will
explore potential moderators. A meta-regression will then be conducted to examine the
To examine the presence of publication bias, we will use funnel plots and statistical
tests for publication bias and asymmetry. The Precision-Effect Test (PET) and Precision-
Effect Estimate with Standard Error (PEESE) are both regression techniques built on the idea
that publication bias results in a small study effect such that effect sizes from smaller studies
(i.e., smaller sample size) are larger and have larger standard errors than those from relatively
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 24
larger studies (Stanley & Doucouliagos, 2014). In other words, effect size positively
correlates with standard error. To adjust for this via the PET technique, the analyst regresses
effect size on standard error so that the intercept can be interpreted as the predicted effect size
when the standard error equals zero (i.e., a perfectly precise estimate).
We will also conduct a p-curve (Simonsohn, Nelson, & Simmons, 2014; Simmons &
Simonsohn, 2017) and a p-uniform test (van Aert & van Assen, 2018). A p-curve test is based
on the idea that the distribution of p- values (under p < .05) resulting from tests of “true”
effects will be right skewed (i.e., higher frequencies of small p-values). As effects and sample
sizes get bigger, small p-values become more frequent and the distribution of p-values—p-
curve—becomes more right-skewed. In contrast, null effects will produce p-values that are
uniformly distributed; that is, all p- values are equally likely when the null is true. Thus, an
analyst can glean evidential value of a phenomenon from the degree of right-skew in the
observed p-curve. A p-uniform test also assesses p-values (< .05), yet it employs a different
estimation algorithm. Because these techniques make similar assumptions about effect sizes
and selection bias, they perform equally well under similar conditions. However, unlike p-
curve, the p-uniform technique provides confidence intervals for the estimated effect size.
Additionally, we will also conduct Egger’s regression test (Egger, Smith, & Minder,
1997) to visually inspect for publication bias using funnel plots of study effect sizes against
sample size. A trim-and-fill test will also be conducted to test adjustment for publication bias
detected (Duval & Tweedie, 2000a, 2000b).
Additional exploratory analyses
We expect to include more variables that are not listed in the coding sheet as possible
moderators as we examine the literature. These additional moderator analyses will be
considered as exploratory and most likely will be conducted if tests of homogeneity reveal
significant heterogeneity among the studies included in our meta-analysis.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 25
Decisions to conduct exploratory analyses will be documented in the coding sheet and
the results found will be clearly specified as exploratory.
[TBD pending, to be completed after data analysis]
[TBD pending, to be completed after data analysis]
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 26
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Appendix A: Template for Contacting Authors
Dear Dr. [name],
We are conducting a meta-analysis on the link between the Dark Triad traits and Schwartz
values. Your article was found through a comprehensive search of the literature and selected
as a study for inclusion.
The references for the studies you co-authored to be included are: [insert full citations]
We would like to ask for your help with the meta-analysis process.
We would appreciate references to any other published data on the relationship between the
dark triad traits and Schwartz values to make sure we included them in our meta-analysis.
More importantly, we are especially interested in any relevant unpublished manuscripts or
unpublished data that cannot be found through a regular literature search.
If you have unfinished or unpublished manuscripts, we would appreciate a copy. These will
be kept confidential and will not be used for any other purpose other than inclusion in the
Alternatively, for unpublished manuscripts and/or data, the information we require for each of
the studies/samples for inclusion is:
1. Brief description of the study and procedures
2. Correlation matrix between Dark Triad personality trait(s) and Schwartz value(s)
3. Sample size after exclusions
4. Independent variable :
1. Brief description of the measures/scales were used
2. Internal reliabilities if available/relevant.
5. Dependent variable:
1. Brief description of the measures/scales were used
2. Internal reliabilities if available/relevant.
6. Demographics and data collection details:
1. Date of data collection.
3. Type of participants
4. Mean age (and SD if available).
7. Reference to be used when citing this data or manuscript.
If you only have raw data that has not yet been analysed, then we would be happy to help
analyse it for inclusion. In such a case, please send us the dataset and a description of the key
variables described above relevant for the analysis.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 36
Please send all relevant information and/or data to us at this email [first author email]
If you are interested in more information, we will be happy to answer any further questions
and keep you posted on the project as we make progress and finalize the submission.
Dark Tetrad and personal values: Meta-analysis Registered Report 37
Appendix B: Formal call to publish on Research Gate
The aim of this project is to quantitatively summarize the literature on the relationship
between personal values and the Dark Triad.
If you have or are doing research on this, have any published or unpublished manuscripts or
data, or if you have questions or would like to offer your help or feedback, we would love to
hear from you. Please post a comment or contact us at [email address].
Commonly used measures of the Dark Triad model
Dark Triad Factor
Jonason & Webster, 2010
Short Dark Triad
Jones & Paulhus, 2014
Neumann et al., 2012
Levenson, Kiehl, & Fitzpatrick, 1995
Lilienfeld & Andrews, 1996
Lynam et al., 2011
Assessment- Short Form
Lynam et al., 2013
Selbom, Cooke, & Shou, 2019
Christie & Geis, 1970
Dahling, Whitaker, & Levy, 2009
Raskin & Terry, 1988
Inventory – 16 item
Ames, Rose, & Anderson, 2006
Dark Triad Factor
Rosenthal et al., 2019
Pincus et al., 2009
Back et al., 2013
Glover et al., 2012
Assessment of Sadistic
Buckels & Paulhus, 2014
Assessment of Sadistic
Plouffe, Saklofske, & Smith, 2017
Short Sadistic Impulse
O’Meara, Davies & Hammond, 2011
Varieties of Sadistic
Paulhus & Jones, 2015
Note. This table will be updated as we encounter other measures used in the studies analysed.
Description of the 10 Schwartz values categories
Description/Items: Individuals who value this believe in the importance of…
…being in charge of people and resources and having money (social power, wealth, authority)
… socially recognized successes (ambition, competence)
…sensual pleasure (fun, enjoying life)
…having stimulating experiences (daring, exciting life)
…independence of thought and action (creativity, freedom, independent, curious)
… promoting the welfare of all people and nature (equality, social justice, protecting the
…promoting the welfare of people you are close to (helpfulness, loyalty, honesty, forgiving)
…controlling impulses to fulfil others’ expectations (self-discipline, obedience)
…maintaining traditions (moderation, respect for tradition, devout)
…safety and security of self, family, and nation (family security, social order, clean)
Note. Adapted from Parks-Leduc, Feldman, and Bardi (2015)
Commonly used measures of the Schwartz values model
Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ)
Schwartz et al., 2001
Portrait Values Questionnaire Shortened (PVQ-
Portraits Values Questionnaire Revised (PVQ-
Butenko & Schwartz, 2013
World Values Survey (WVS)
Inglehart et al., 2014
Ten Item Values Inventory (TIVI)
Sandy et al., 2016
Twenty Item Values Inventory (TwIVI)
Sandy et al., 2016
Schwartz Value Survey (SVS)
Schwartz Values Scale – Short Version (SSVS)
Lindeman & Verkasalo, 2005