Dark triad of personalities


Paulhus, Delroy L. & Williams, Kevin M. (2002). The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. In: Journal of Research in Personality. Volume 36, Issue 6. S.556-563

Of the offensive yet non-pathological personalities in the literature, three are especially prominent: Machiavellianism, subclinical narcissism, and subclinical psychopathy. We evaluated the recent contention that, in normal samples, this Dark Triad of constructs are one and the same. In a sample of 245 students, we measured the three constructs with standard measures and examined a variety of laboratory and self-report correlates. The measures were moderately inter-correlated, but certainly were not equivalent. Their only common Big Five correlate was disagreeableness. Subclinical psychopaths were distinguished by low neuroticism; Machiavellians, and psychopaths were low in conscientiousness; narcissism showed small positive associations with cognitive ability. Narcissists and, to a lesser extent, psychopaths exhibited self-enhancement on two objectively scored indexes. We conclude that the Dark Triad of personalities, as currently measured, are overlapping but distinct constructs.