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A study indicates that women dig narcissistic, psychopathic and Machiavellian bad boys.

The personality traits that compose the Dark Triad have typically been considered abnormal, pathological and inherently maladaptive (e.g. Kowalski, 2001). Although individuals with these traits inflict costs to others and themselves, the Dark Triad traits are also associated with some qualities, including a drive for power (Bradlee&Emmons, 1992; Foster et al., 2006), low neuroticism (Taylor & Armor, 1996) and extraversion (Paulhus & Williams, 2002), that may be beneficial. Together with low amounts of empathy and agreeableness (Paulhus, 2001), such traits may facilitate—especially for men—the pursuit of an exploitative short-term mating strategy. Although our study is limited, it suggests a potentially interesting new avenue of research to explore. More generally, the application of evolutionary reasoning to the study of personality traits may yield fruitful insights into the wide array of individual differences that exist on various dimensions (e.g. Keller & Miller, 2006; Penke et al., 2007).

Based on the Big Five, any guy scoring high on openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and low on neuroticism is an ideal mate for women. This study concludes something different: women prefer men who display high openness and extroversion in combination with low agreeableness, especially for short term mating.

The researchers found that these types of men had the most sexual partners. This personality combination would make a man narcissistic (subclinical), psychopathic (subclinical) and Machiavellian. You can take a quick, unofficial “Dark Triad Test” by clicking here.

The Study:

Two hundred & twenty four psychology students at New Mexico State University (average age 23) were chosen to participate. All the participants received a packet that detailed the nature of the study, included demographic related questions and contained a self-reporting questionnaire. Using standard guidelines in the test, the researchers scored each person’s level of subclinical psycopathy, subclinical narcissism and Machiavellian traits. Then, they averaged the three scores and formed a “Dark Triad” score for each individual. They also measured each participants socio-sexual attitudes and feelings about short-term sexual mating.


Men scored higher than women on the Dark Triad combination. Additionally, the researchers found a positive correlation between each participant’s Dark Triad score and attitude towards, history of and interest in short-term mating. The men who scored high on the Dark Triad scale had a higher number of sexual partners.

“We would traditionally consider these dark triad traits to be adverse personality traits, and we think women would avoid these kinds of men, but what we show is counterintuitive — that women are attracted to these bad boys and they do pretty well in terms of sheer numbers of sexual partners,” researcher Peter Jonason claims. “They’re taking quantity over quality as their sexual agenda, being serially monogamous and having multiple partners or one-night stands.”

Do men with Dark Triad traits get more action because women are attracted to those traits? Or, do men with Dark Triad traits seek short term mating opportunities with females more often than their nice-guy counterparts? The latter would allow Dark Triad men to get more girls because they try more often, but it seems to be a combination of both. There’s also a possibility that the ‘dark triad’ subjects lied in the study about how many women they’ve been with.

Source: http://www.bradley.edu/academics/las/psy/facstaff/schmitt/documents/Jonason-Schmitt-2009-DarkTriad-STM.pdf


2 Responses to The Dark Triad

  1. [...] The Dark Triad: Women Love Jerks [...]

  2. Taylor says:

    hi there, perfect website, and a really good understand! just one for my favorites.

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