Evolutionary Psychological Science

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 306–315 | Cite as

Interpersonal and Affective Psychopathy Traits Can Enhance Human Fitness

  • Janko MeđedovićEmail author
  • Boban Petrović
  • Jelena Želeskov-Đorić
  • Maja Savić
Research Article


Recently, attempts have been made to determine the evolutionary status of psychopathy. However, there is still a gap in empirical literature regarding the connection between psychopathy and fitness. In the present study, we explored the relations between the four-factor model of psychopathy and reproductive success as a fitness indicator in a sample of male convicts (N = 181). Direct relations were analyzed, together with the interaction effects between psychopathy and family risk factors (presence of criminality, substance abuse, and maltreatment in participants’ families). Basic regression models showed that the facet of interpersonal style is positively related to fitness, while other psychopathic characteristics had a negative connection with the criterion measure. Additionally, we found three significant interactions, which further clarified the relation between psychopathy and reproductive success. One of the interactions showed that affective traits can facilitate fertility in unfavorable environmental conditions. Results support a hypothesis of a possible adaptive function of psychopathy, broaden the concept of “successful psychopathy,” and confirm a view of psychopathy as a heterogeneous and complex construct, consisting of facets with distinct content.


Psychopathy Fitness Family risk factors Adaptation Environmental moderation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


The work on this manuscript was financed by the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technical Development as part of the project 47011—“Crime in Serbia: Phenomenology, risks and possibilities of social intervention.”

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janko Međedović
    • 1
  • Boban Petrović
    • 2
  • Jelena Želeskov-Đorić
    • 3
  • Maja Savić
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Criminological and Sociological ResearchBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Institute of criminological and sociological researchBelgradeSerbia
  3. 3.School of Psychological and Clinical SciencesDarwinAustralia
  4. 4.Faculty of PhilologyBelgradeSerbia

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