The Dark Triad: Facilitating a Short-Term Mating Strategy in Men

Peter K. Jonason, New Mexico State University
Norman P. LI, Singapore Management University
Gregory D. Webster, University of Florida
David P. Schmitt, Bradley University


This survey (N = 224) found that characteristics collectively known as the Dark Triad (i.e. narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism) were correlated with various dimensions of short-term mating but not long-term mating. The link between the Dark Triad and short-term mating was stronger for men than for women. The Dark Triad partially mediated the sex difference in short-term mating behaviour. Findings are consistent with a view that the Dark Triad facilitates an exploitative, short-term mating strategy in men. Possible implications, including that Dark Triad traits represent a bundle of individual differences that promote a reproductively adaptive strategy are discussed. Findings are discussed in the broad context of how an evolutionary approach to personality psychology can enhance our understanding of individual differences.