Why do we desire ‘dark’ personalities? A study investigating attractiveness of the dark triad personality traits

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Salvino, Mariah Andrea
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
In light of the thriving research on the adverse, exploitative and game playing behaviours of Dark Triad (DT) traits – narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism – the present study aims to determine the attractiveness of the DT. Using a correlational between groups design, this was addressed by measuring responses between males and females, younger and older age groups, and of similar and dissimilar personalities. Participants (N = 121) completed an online survey, whereby personality descriptions depicting characters high and low in the DT traits were rated on attractiveness. Findings of the study were, at most, consistent with the hypotheses. Narcissism was highly attractive, and psychopathy and Machiavellianism were not. Narcissism was found to be highly attractive for similar narcissists, males and females, and younger age groups. However, younger individuals were more attracted to characters low in psychopathy and Machiavellianism, and males and females rated comparably. Suggestions for future directions are provided.