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Country-Level Correlates of the Dark Triad traits in 49 Countries

journal contribution
posted on 2020-06-09, 08:48 authored by PK Jonason, M Żemojtel-Piotrowska, J Piotrowski, KW Campbell, JE Gebauer, J Maltby, C Sedikides, M Adamovic, B Adams, AL Kadiyono, KA Atitsogbe, HY Bundhoo, S Baltatescu, S Bilić, JG Brulin, P Chobthamkit, A Del Carmen Dominguez, S Dragova-Koleva, S el-Astal, CS Esteves, WLM Eldesoki, VV Gouveia, K Gundolf, D Ilisco, E Jauk, SV Kamble, N Khachatryan, M Klicperova-Baker, E Knezovic, M Kovacs, X Lei, K Liik, A Mamuti, R Moreta-Herrera, TL Milfont, CW Ong, E Osin, J Park, B Petrovic, J Ramos-Diaz, G Ridic, A Qadir, S Samekin, A Sawicki, H Tiliouine, R Tomsik, CS Umeh, K van den Bos, A Van Hiel, O Van Hiel, A Wlodarczyk, I Yahiiaev

Objectives: The Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) capture individual differences in aversive aspects of personality to compliment work on the other taxonomies such as the Big Five traits. However, most studies on the Dark Triad traits rely on samples from English-speaking countries that are relatively advanced in socio-political development (e.g., Westernized).

Method: We drew on data from 49 countries (N = 11,723; 65.8% female; AgeMean = 21.53) to examine how a wide net of country-level variables in economic status (e.g., Human Development Index), social relations (e.g., gender equality), political orientations (e.g., democracy), and cultural values (e.g., embeddedness) relate to country-level rates of the Dark Triad traits and variance in the magnitude of sex differences in them.

Results: Narcissism was especially sensitive to country-level factors. Countries that had less advanced systems, with more embedded and hierarchical cultural systems, were more narcissistic as a population. Sex differences in narcissism were larger in more advanced societies, because women were less likely to be narcissistic in advanced as opposed to less advanced countries.

Conclusions: We discuss the results using evolutionary and social role models of personality and sex differences. In particular, higher nation-level narcissism was more common in “less advanced” places and sex differences in narcissism were larger in “more advanced” places which is more consistent with evolutionary than social role models.


The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Peter Jonason was partially funded by a grant from the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (PPN/ULM/2019/1/00019/U/00001). Magdalena Żemojtel-Piotrowska and Jarosław Piotrowski were supported by a grant from Polish National Science Centre (2016/21/B/HS6/01069). Valdiney Gouveia was supported by National Council of Technological and Scientific Development, Brazil. Joel Gruneau Brulin was supported by a John Templeton Foundation grant (51897) awarded. Martina Klicperova-Baker was supported by grants from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (#15-11062S) and the Czech Academy of Sciences (RVO 68081740). Evgeny Osin was supported by a grant from the Russian Academic Excellence (5-100).



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