Dark triad

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The dark triad is a combination of three personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Many mainstream studies have shown that women strongly prefer men with dark triad traits over those that don't possess these traits and studies have shown this is not explained by dark triad men being more extroverted or confident.

The dirty dozen[edit | edit source]

The "Dirty Dozen" is a scoring tool for quickly quantifying if one has Dark Triad traits. It is a condensed version of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, Mach-IV, and Psychopathy Scale-III.

  1. I tend to manipulate others to get my way.
  2. I tend to lack remorse.
  3. I tend to want others to admire me.
  4. I tend to be unconcerned with the morality of my actions.
  5. I have used deceit or lied to get my way.
  6. I tend to be callous or insensitive.
  7. I have used flattery to get my way.
  8. I tend to seek prestige or status.
  9. I tend to be cynical.
  10. I tend to exploit others toward my own end.
  11. I tend to expect special favors from others.
  12. I want others to pay attention to me.

The three traits[edit | edit source]

Several mainstream academic, peer-reviewed studies have confirmed that women are sexually attracted to men who exhibit dark triad traits, likely because of women's evolutionary history. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

In practice these traits essentially allude to the following behavioral traits which help an alpha male stand out from his beta brethren:

Narcissism[edit | edit source]

Putting one's own needs before others' wants. Projecting a high self-image. Vanity. Entitlement. Excessive self-love.

Machiavellianism[edit | edit source]

Deceitfulness, cynicism and the tendency to see people as mere 'pawns' to be manipulated for your own benefit. Power at almost any cost.

Psychopathy[edit | edit source]

Callous affect. Not caring about what society thinks of you and only thinking about what will benefit yourself. Not being able to feel empathy. Compulsive lying and total disregard for authority and morality. High arousal threshold, requiring high levels of stimulation (i.e excessive drug use, compulsive gambling, casual sex.)

Not a byproduct of extroversion[edit | edit source]

In a study women were presented with male characters of varying degrees of Dark Triad personality. Physicality was held constant. Men with Dark Triad traits were dramatically more attractive to women compared to control characters who lacked these traits (with 99.9% statistical certainty). Furthermore, the attractiveness of these Dark Traits was not explained by other characteristics like extroversion.[10][11]

Thus it seems apparent that while personality does matter to women, it does not matter in the ways they claim. Contrary to popular claims that women want a "nice, caring guy," in actual fact, they are most sexually attracted and aroused by narcissistic, manipulative, and psychopathic men.

This likely has a basis in evolutionary biology, as Dark Triad traits may have helped provide a competitive edge to men in difficult times, for example, by allowing a man to kill others for resources. Another possible explanation is that violent, manipulative or narcissistic behavior is an honest signal of exceptionally good erotic capital (i.e good looks) high social status or financial capital, as such a person who possesses these traits can 'get away' with behaving in such a manner.

Women desiring marriage and commitment are more attracted to narcissistic men[edit | edit source]

Haslam & Montrose (2015) conducted a survey of 146 British females asking them to rate their agreement with a series of statements intended to measure their attraction to narcissism in a potential male partner. The statements were based on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) a psychological test designed to measure the level of "sub-clinical narcissism" in an individual. The researchers found[12]:

  • Women wishing to get married were more attracted to the narcissistic male personality (mean rank = 77.82) than those not desiring marriage(mean rank = 59.81).
  • Women with a higher number of sexual partners were significantly more attracted to the narcissistic male personality.
  • All of this is despite it being previously demonstrated that narcissistic mates are more likely to be unfaithful and narcissism is associated with a lack of relational commitment.

Further possible explanation[edit | edit source]

V. Mehta notes:[13]

What might explain this result? Carter and his colleagues offer two possible explanations. First, sexual selection might be at work. This would mean that women are responding to signals of “male quality” when it comes to reproduction. And with respect to short-term mating, women may be drawn to ‘bad boys’, who demonstrate confidence, stubbornness, and risk-taking tendencies. Second, sexual conflict may be at play. The investigators state that “Women may be responding to DT men’s ability to ‘sell themselves’; a useful tactic in a co-evolutionary ‘arms race’ in which men convince women to pursue the former’s preferred sexual strategy.” They note that like a “used-car dealer,” Dark Triad men may be effective charmers and manipulators, furthering their success at short-term mating. The authors are also careful to note that though women rated the DT character as comparatively more attractive, it does not necessarily mean that they would have sex with them.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Jonason P. K., Li N. P., Webster G. W., Schmitt D. P. (2009). "The Dark Triad: Facilitating short-term mating in men". European Journal of Personality. 23: 5–18. doi:10.1002/per.698.
  2. Jonason P. K., Valentine K. A., Li N. P., Harbeson C. L. (2011). "Mate-selection and the Dark Triad: Facilitating a short-term mating strategy and creating a volatile environment". Personality and Individual Differences. 51 (6): 759–63. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.06.025.
  3. Jonason P. K., Li N. P., Buss D. M. (2010). "The costs and benefits of the Dark Triad: Implications for mate poaching and mate retention tactics". Personality and Individual Differences. 48 (4): 373–78. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2009.11.003.
  4. Jonason P. K., Koenig B., Tost J. (2010). "Living a fast life: The Dark Triad and Life History Theory". Human Nature. 21 (4): 428–42. doi:10.1007/s12110-010-9102-4.
  5. Carter, Gregory Louis, Anne C. Campbell, Steven Muncer, "The Dark Triad personality: Attractiveness to women", Elsevier/ScienceDirect, 12 June 2013
  6. Grewel, Daisy, "Psychology Uncovers Sex Appeal of Dark Personalities", Scientific American, 27 November 2012
  7. Holtzman, Nicholas, S., "People With Dark Personalities Tend to Create a Physically Attractive Veneer" Social Psychological and Personality Science, October 4, 2012, doi: 10.1177/1948550612461284
  8. "Are Narcissists Sexy? Zeroing in on the Effect of Narcissism on Short-Term Mate Appeal", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2013 vol. 39 no. 7 870-882, doi: 10.1177/0146167213483580
  9. Back, Schmuckle, and Egloff, "Why are narcissists so charming at first sight? Decoding the narcissism-popularity link at zero acquaintance.", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2010 Jan;98(1):132-45. doi: 10.1037/a0016338
  10. Cartera GL, Campbell AC, Muncer S. The Dark Triad personality: Attractiveness to women. Personality and Individual Differences. Volume 56, January 2014, Pages 57-61. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886913012245
  11. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273809664_The_Dark_Triad_personality_Attractiveness_to_women
  12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019188691500210X?via%3Dihub
  13. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/head-games/201310/why-do-women-fall-bad-boys

External link[edit | edit source]

  • https://openpsychometrics.org/tests/SD3/ Online version of the 'SD3' designed to measure the levels of the 'dark triad' traits in an individual produced by Delroy L. Paulhus and Daniel Jones, provided for educational purposes.

See Also[edit | edit source]