An investigation into the dark triad of personality and fear and startle response among adults

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Coney, Aisling
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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A repeated measures, within-participants experiment was conducted to ascertain whether levels of Dark Triad personality characteristics (narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism) would predict a fearful and startled response to two categories of images: violence towards others, and a threat of violence towards self. A convenience sample of 29 non clinical participants (13 male, 16 female) was recruited. Personality constructs were measured by the Short Dark Triad (SD3). Fear response was measured by EEG in the left temporal lobe and startle response was measured by Galvanic Skin Response (GSR). Results showed narcissism to be a significant predictor of a fearful response to images of threat of violence towards self. There was no significant difference between the two categories of images. Strengths and limitations of the study are discussed along with future research. Author keywords: Dark triad, narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, EEG, GSR