Narcists, machiavellianists and psychopaths impress
Are we attracted to people we like? Not necessarily. Good character isn’t always sexually appealing. It may even be the undesirable personality traits that make potential mates desirable, scientists say.
Two researchers at the Washington Univeristy of St Louis conducted various experiments and found that people with a so called ‘dark triad’ character, make good impressions on others. The dark triad stands for three personality traits: narcissism, machiavellianism and psychopathy. All of them anti-social.
The three traits are distinctive, but thought to overlap. Narcists overall think of themselves as grandiose and lack empathy. Psychopaths are described as thrill-seeking, selfish and remorseless. Machiavellianism, named after the Italian strategist Machiavelli, is characterized by tendencies to manipulate others, not care about morality and act out of self-interest.
The attractiveness of anti-social personality traits have been associated with attractiveness more than once. Narcissists, for instance, seem to make a good impression on others because they are experts at enhancing the self, as Dufner et al. suggested earlier this year. Narcissm appeared to affect mate appeal more than friend appeal.
So, besides physical appearance and clothing, character makes first impressions even more untrustworthy as social compass. Think twice before judging.
Photo: Flickr, Sokole Oko
Holtzman, N., & Strube, M. (2012). People With Dark Personalities Tend to Create a Physically Attractive Veneer Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4 (4), 461-467 DOI: 10.1177/1948550612461284
Dufner, M., Rauthmann, J., Czarna, A., & Denissen, J. (2013). Are Narcissists Sexy? Zeroing in on the Effect of Narcissism on Short-Term Mate Appeal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin DOI: 10.1177/0146167213483580