Department

Psychology

Additional Mentor

Dr. Trey Hill

Description

The Dark Triad is a personality construct composed of psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism that is commonly associated with a variety of undesirable behaviors. High prenatal androgen exposure has been associated with various behavioral and personality characteristics also commonly found in individuals high in the Dark Triad. This may suggest a link between prenatal androgen exposure and the development of the Dark Triad. Additionally, previous research has found that the faces of individuals high in the Dark Triad are able to be identified at rates significantly better than chance. This identification may indicate evolutionary benefits associated with facial recognition of Dark Triad traits, particularly within the realm of mating. A total of 66 students were shown a slideshow with composite faces of individuals high and low in psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism, intrasexual competition, and short- and long term mating. Participants were asked to mark which face was most expressive of each trait on a 6-point scale. They completed the Dirty Dozen measure of the Dark Triad, and their 2D:4D ratios were also measured. Our hypothesis that individuals high in the Dark Triad would be better at identifying high Dark Triad faces was not supported. However, in accordance with evolutionary advantages, females high in the Dark Triad were worse at identifying males high in long-term mating, and narcissistic males were better at identifying females high in short term mating. No relationship between low 2D:4D ratio (indicating higher prenatal androgen exposure) and the Dark Triad traits was found.

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Facial Recognition of Dark Triad Traits and the Link to Prenatal Androgen Exposure

The Dark Triad is a personality construct composed of psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism that is commonly associated with a variety of undesirable behaviors. High prenatal androgen exposure has been associated with various behavioral and personality characteristics also commonly found in individuals high in the Dark Triad. This may suggest a link between prenatal androgen exposure and the development of the Dark Triad. Additionally, previous research has found that the faces of individuals high in the Dark Triad are able to be identified at rates significantly better than chance. This identification may indicate evolutionary benefits associated with facial recognition of Dark Triad traits, particularly within the realm of mating. A total of 66 students were shown a slideshow with composite faces of individuals high and low in psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism, intrasexual competition, and short- and long term mating. Participants were asked to mark which face was most expressive of each trait on a 6-point scale. They completed the Dirty Dozen measure of the Dark Triad, and their 2D:4D ratios were also measured. Our hypothesis that individuals high in the Dark Triad would be better at identifying high Dark Triad faces was not supported. However, in accordance with evolutionary advantages, females high in the Dark Triad were worse at identifying males high in long-term mating, and narcissistic males were better at identifying females high in short term mating. No relationship between low 2D:4D ratio (indicating higher prenatal androgen exposure) and the Dark Triad traits was found.