A Drunk Heart Speaks a Sober Mind

The Dark Triad as a whole can be thought of as a short-term, agentic, exploitative social strategy [9]. Therefore, evolutionary psychologists suggest that Dark Triad traits are beneficial to those who possess them, and are potentially harmful to those who do not [4].

Males who score highly on these traits often report higher mating successes [6]. This may be because those score highly on all three aspects (Psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and Narcissism) present good, favourable first impressions of themselves to others [5]. However, these characteristics are misleading to potential mates as individuals who show high Psychopathy are more likely to adopt coercive mating strategies [7]. Further, those possessing high Machiavellianism traits are likely to exploit others [10]. Finally, those scoring highly on any of these three traits, including Narcissism, are more likely to cheat on their partner [2].

Therefore, it may be evolutionarily beneficial for females to have an aversion to males who score highly on these traits. The literature has found that women have do have this aversion to males who score highly on Dark Triad traits [8]. Additionally, there are many factors that might influence this aversion, one example being alcohol consumption as individual behaviours become ‘riskier’ following alcohol consumption [3].

Brewer et al. (2017) at The University of Liverpool have to investigate the effects of alcohol consumption on female aversion to the dark triad. They tested the influence of alcohol on mate choice and perceptions of danger in Dark Triad faces. Participants were randomly allocated to either, the control condition, alcohol condition, or the placebo condition. Their findings showed that women were averse to male faces with high levels of all three Dark Triad traits and they were perceived as more dangerous. Additionally, experimental condition did not alter these results, suggesting that the aversion of males with Dark Triad traits is not influenced by alcohol consumption.

So, rest assured – you should not fall into the trap of Dark Triad males after an alcoholic drink, any more than you would sober!

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[1] Brewer, G., Christiansen, P., Dorozkinaite, D., Ingleby, B., O’Hagan, L., Williams, C., & Lyons, M. (2017). A drunk heart speaks a sober mind: Alcohol does not influence the selection of short-term partners with dark triad traits. Personality and Individual Differences.

[2] Brewer, G., Hunt, D., James, G., & Abell, L. (2015). Dark Triad traits, infidelity and romantic revenge. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 122-127.

[3] Cooper, M. L. (2002). Alcohol use and risky sexual behavior among college students and youth: evaluating the evidence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, supplement, (14), 101-117.

[4] Furnham, A., Richards, S. C., & Paulhus, D. L. (2013). The Dark Triad of personality: A 10 year review. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7(3), 199-216.

[5] Holtzman, N. S., & Strube, M. J. (2013). People with dark personalities tend to create a physically attractive veneer. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(4), 461-467.

[6] Jonason, P. K., Li, N. P., Webster, G. D., & Schmitt, D. P. (2009). The dark triad: Facilitating a short‐term mating strategy in men. European Journal of Personality, 23(1), 5-18.

[7] Knight, R. A., & Guay, J. P. (2006). The role of psychopathy in sexual coercion against women. Handbook of psychopathy, 512-532.

[8] Lyons, M. T., Marcinkowska, U. M., Helle, S., & McGrath, L. (2015). Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most masculine of them all? The Dark Triad, masculinity, and women’s mate choice. Personality and Individual Differences74, 153-158.

[9] Webster, G. D., & Jonason, P. K. (2013). Putting the ‘irt’ in ‘dirty’: Item response theory analyses of the dark triad dirty dozen—an efficient measure of narcissism, psychopathy, and machiavellianism. Personality And Individual Differences, 54(2), 302-306. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.08.027

[10] Wilson, D. S., Near, D. C., & Miller, R. R. (1998). Individual differences in Machiavellianism as a mix of cooperative and exploitative strategies. Evolution and Human Behavior, 19(3), 203-212.

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