The dark triad is a psychological phrase that describes an individual's unfavorable inclinations. Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism are all components of it (Fatima, 2016). Machiavellianism is the inclination of manipulating others in order to get an advantage. A psychopath is someone who lacks empathy in general (Jones & Paulhus, 2014). Narcissism is defined as excessive self-love. Individuals that are manipulative, cynical, calculating, and arrogant are more likely to have an interpersonal complex with low communion and high agency (Jones & Paulhus, 2017). Psychopaths, narcissists, and Machiavellians are all judged differently. Studies that have been done on the interpersonal perception on the full Dark Triad are scarce (Kajonius, Persson, Rosenberg & Garcia, 2016). According to Persson, Kajonius, and Garcia (2017), examining the unique personality profiles of Machiavellians, psychopaths and narcissists are difficult. Peer reports are rarely used in the validation of the self-view of dark personalities. Wright et al. (2016) posit that research studies conducted in a naturalistic setting indicate that dark personalities were perceived as somewhat agentic and disagreeable.

Problem statement

The study aims at examining the perceptions of psychopaths, narcissists, and Machiavellians. It focuses on filling the research gaps since there are few studies that have been done on the subject. According to Horan, Guinn, and Banghart (2015), it has been suggested that narcissist tends to be desirable as friends and mates. Jones and Paulhus (2014) assert that they have been found to be attractive and popular, successful in short-term mating, and attain status. Machiavellians tend to be aloof, cold, and have misanthropic behavior. Psychopaths have antisocial behaviors, are callous, and have an erratic lifestyle (Jonason, Webster, Schmitt & Crysel, 2012). The study hypothesizes that narcissist is more attractive, likable and appealing as compared to Machiavellian and a psychopath.

Research questions

Do different components of Dark Triad influence an individual perceived attractiveness more or less?

Research hypothesis

There is no significant difference in the degree of perceived attractiveness between the different components of the Dark Triad.

Research methodology

The study utilized a quantitative research design in which 378 participants were sampled to examine the relationship between perceived attractiveness and the three components of the Dark Triad. The independent variables are the three components of the Dark Triad that include psychopaths, narcissist, and Machiavellians. The dependent variable is the perceived attractiveness. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to establish the statistical significance of the result. Spearman’ correlation and one way ANOVA were used in the analysis.


The three components of the Dark Triad were not perceived as attractive, but the degree varied relatively from one component to another. The analysis indicates that there is a negative correlation between the three components and perceived attractiveness. Narcissism registered the highest degree of negative correlation (-0.485) as compared to psychopaths and Machiavellians which had a lower value of negative correlation (-0.185). The degree to which psychopath and Machiavellians are perceived as not being attractive is the same (-0.185). Unlike previous studies that established narcissism to be strongly correlated to perceived attractiveness as compared to the other two components, the outcome of the study contradicts these findings. It shows that narcissism is perceived as less attractive as compared to psychopaths and Machiavellians. One-way ANOVA indicates that there is no significant difference on the influence of the three components of Dark Triad on the perceived attractive since the computed mean square (18.558) is far much less than the f-value (42.451). It can be concluded that narcissism influences the degree of not being perceived as attractive more while psychopath and Machiavellians influence the degree to a lesser extent.


Fatima, I. (2016). Dark Triad Personality Traits as Predictors of Bullying and Victimization in Adolescents. Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 26(1), 51.

Horan, S. M., Guinn, T. D., & Banghart, S. (2015). Understanding Relationships Among the Dark Triad Personality Profile and Romantic Partners’ Conflict Communication. Communication Quarterly, 63(2), 156-170.

Jonason, P. K., Webster, G. D., Schmitt, D. P., Li, N. P., & Crysel, L. (2012). The antihero in popular culture: Life history theory and the dark triad personality traits. Review of General Psychology, 16(2), 192.

Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2017). Duplicity Among the Dark Triad: Three Faces of Deceit.

Jones, D. N., & Paulhus, D. L. (2014). Introducing the short dark triad (SD3) a brief measure of dark personality traits. Assessment, 21(1), 28-41.

Kajonius, P. J., Persson, B. N., Rosenberg, P., & Garcia, D. (2016). The (mis) measurement of the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen: exploitation at the core of the scale. PeerJ, 4, e1748.

Persson, B. N., Kajonius, P. J., & Garcia, D. (2017). Revisiting the Structure of the Short Dark Triad. Assessment, 1073191117701192.

Wright, J. P., Morgan, M. A., Almeida, P. R., Almosaed, N. F., Moghrabi, S. S., & Bashatah, F. S. (2016). Malevolent Forces Self-Control, the Dark Triad, and Crime. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 1541204016667995.

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