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Not My Protector—Women Have an Aversion to High Dark Triad Faces Irrespective of Childhood or Current Environmental Danger


Although the Dark Triad of personality (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) has been widely investigated in relation to mate choice, research has not yet considered environmental danger and women’s preference for Dark Triad characteristics. Women (N = 357) completed an online two-alternative forced choice (2-AFC) task, choosing between high and low Dark Triad facial morphs for attractiveness, and for perceived danger. They also answered questions assessing danger in their childhood and current environments. Women perceived the high Dark Triad faces as less attractive and more dangerous that the low faces. Childhood and current environmental danger did not have an association with a preference for the Dark Triad faces. The results indicate that the cost associated with pairing up with a high Dark Triad male may outweigh the benefits, irrespective of the environment.

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We would like to thank Nick Holtzman for creating the baseline morphs and Indrikis Krams for providing the faces that we used in the study. Special thanks also to Ula Marcinkowska for developing the morphs constructing the faces on PsychoMorph.

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Correspondence to Ella Solomon.

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Solomon, E., Lyons, M. Not My Protector—Women Have an Aversion to High Dark Triad Faces Irrespective of Childhood or Current Environmental Danger. Evolutionary Psychological Science (2020).

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  • Current and childhood environment
  • Facial morphs
  • Dark Triad
  • Narcissism
  • Machiavellianism
  • Mate choice
  • Psychopathy