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The Relationship Between Dark Triad Personality Traits and Belief in a Just World

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The Relationship Between Dark Triad Personality Traits and Belief in a Just World

  1. 1. The Relationship Between Dark Triad Personality Traits and Belief in a Just World Jamie Peutherer1 , Lana Ireland Department of Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow G4 0BA, Scotland 1Corresponding Author: Tel. +44 7340 093237 Email. JPEUTH200@caledonian.ac.uk
  2. 2. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 2 Abstract The Dark Triad (DT) is made up of three personality traits which are all related to socially and morally undesirable behaviours, these are psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. These constructs were investigated with regards to their relationship with Belief in a Just World (BJW), the tendency to believe that people generally receive outcomes deserving of their actions. 177 UK domiciles took part in an online survey containing measures of both DT and BJW; it was hypothesised that each DT trait would correlate negatively with BJW. No predicted correlations were observed, however a significant positive correlation was found between narcissism and BJW in male respondents. Theoretical implications of this relationship are discussed. The present study represents an important step in exploring how moral beliefs should be considered in both treating and working with DT individuals, as well as beginning to understand the DT individual’s moralistic world-view. Keywords: Dark Triad; Narcissism; Psychopathy; Machiavellianism; Belief in a Just World; Morality; Personality
  3. 3. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 3 1. Introduction The Dark Triad is made up of three personality traits which have been consistently correlated with generally negative, immoral, unhelpful, and even malevolent behaviours - these are psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism. Previous research on the behaviours and attitudes of those scoring high in Dark Triad traits has focused intensely on their associated behaviours and thinking in areas such as aggression (Walsh, 2013), mating strategies (Jonason, Li, Webster, & Schmitt, 2009; Jonason, Luevano, & Adams, 2012), empathy (Ali, Amorim, & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2009), and romantic relationships (Rohmann, Bierhoff, & Schmohr, 2011). Despite this surge in interest, significantly fewer studies have investigated the beliefs held by Dark Triad individuals which may also have a role to play in their associated behaviours. This is arguably an important area of Dark Triad research worth exploration when considering the moral implications of the actions associated with Dark Triad personality traits. One set of individual and measurable beliefs which relate to morality is Belief in a Just World (BJW), first put forward by Lerner (1980) as part of Just World Theory. Just World Theory is the global cognitive bias whereupon individuals subconsciously hold the belief that people generally receive outcomes which are morally consistent with their actions. This bias was thought to make the individual’s life easier to plan as well as making goals seem more achievable as the individual could seemingly predict the consequences of their behaviours (Lerner, 1980). Evidence for this theory having an effect on behaviour has come in many forms, including observation of victim derogation (Lerner & Simmons, 1966), responsibility attribution (Shaver, 1970), revenge attitudes (Kaiser, Brooke Vick, & Major, 2004), and helping behaviours (Depalma, Madey, Tillman, & Wheeler, 1999). Studies investigating BJW and its relationship with personality traits are still in their infancy, however some research in this field has found correlations between BJW and more
  4. 4. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 4 popular personality models such as the Five-Factor Model (Nudelman, 2013; Wolfradt & Dalbert, 2003) and the HEXACO model (Bollmann, Krings, Maggiori, & Rossier, 2015). However, no study published to date has yet explored BJW directly with regards to the Dark Triad model. Analysing the relationship between Dark Triad traits and BJW may offer insight into how individuals possessing the traits perceive the world they live in through the lens of morality. Understanding their attitudes towards the morality behind their actions and the actions of others may aid in predicting the behaviours such an individual may present. Such understanding could theoretically inform practitioners in the type of interventions they offer their client, they could inform employers on who to hire to fill a vacant position, and they could even inform individuals working in prison inmate reformation programmes. In the case of psychopathy, it would seem almost logical to presume that an individual scoring high in the trait would also score low in BJW. This is because of the trait’s association with a lack of empathy for others (Mullins-Nelson, Salekin, & Leistico, 2006), antisocial behaviour (Leistico, Salekin, DeCoster, & Rogers, 2008), and overrepresentation in prison populations (Kiehl & Hoffman, 2011). A plethora of studies have found that high levels of prison inmates score high enough to be considered psychopathic (Coid et al., 2009; Ullrich, Paelecke, Kahle & Marneros, 2003). Others have also found psychopathy to be linked with violent and aggressive tendencies (Serin, 1991; Walsh, 2013). If those high in belief in a just world believe that morally wrong actions lead to negative outcomes then it should follow that they would be less likely to engage in these types of behaviours, especially those which would lead to imprisonment. Interestingly, Spielberger (1988) posits that those high in BJW are less likely to express anger via potentially destructive means such as insults, breaking objects, and door-slamming. Those high in BJW are also thought to be significantly more dedicated to just means in attempting to achieve goals (Hafer, 2000). It becomes all too
  5. 5. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 5 clear that many aspects of a strong BJW seem incompatible with the findings regarding psychopaths. With that in mind, it is hypothesised that psychopathy will be negatively correlated with BJW. With regards to narcissism, there are mixed thoughts as to whether the trait would have a profound effect on BJW, and similarly whether BJW would influence narcissism. While the attributes associated with narcissism are generally considered somewhat negative and unhelpful -- such as an obvious self-focus, problems with exaggerating achievements, problems sustaining relationships, difficulties with empathy, and being overly sensitive to perceived insults and criticism (Thomas, 2010) – they appear not to be as malicious as attributes associated with psychopathy. Wink (1991) argues that there are two distinct types of narcissist; these are the overt and the covert narcissist. Overt narcissists were marked by extraversion, grandiosity, and exhibitionism while covert narcissists were more associated with introversion, anxiety, and insecurity. It could be argued that BJW be associated with both types in that the overt narcissist may be assumed to have a strong BJW as the individual believes themselves to be living in a world where they are superior, and that this is justified. While the opposite may be true of the covert narcissist who masks their insecurities and anxiety with exhibitionism and grand actions but may actually feel inferior and that this perception of themselves is made so through an unjust world. Rose (2002) demonstrates this to some degree by showing that overt narcissists report a higher self-esteem and life satisfaction than covert narcissists, which is interesting to note when considering that BJW also positively correlated with subjective wellbeing (Correia, Batista, & Lima, 2009). It was therefore hypothesised that narcissism will be positively correlated with BJW. Machiavellianism is perhaps the most easily argued trait to be associated with a low BJW because of the negative moral outlook and self-serving behaviours which it is characterised by (Jones and Paulhus, cited in Leary & Hoyle, 2009). Those scoring high in
  6. 6. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 6 Machiavellianism (high-machs) have been shown to carry out a range of behaviours which would appear to be at odds with having a high BJW, such as cheating in academic settings (Williams, Nathanson, and Paulhus, 2010), emotionally manipulating others (Grams & Rogers, 1990), and lying (DePaulo & Rosenthal, 1979; Geis & Moon, 1981). It would be logical to assume that one who believes that negative actions lead to negative outcomes would avoid such actions. Machiavellian individuals are even described as having “features of cynical worldviews and amorality” according to Jones and Paulhus (cited in Leary & Hoyle, 2009). With this in mind it appears doubtful that Machiavellianism would be a common trait among those with a high BJW, therefore it is hypothesised that Machiavellianism will correlate negatively with BJW. As personality traits have been shown to be rather consistent over time and age (Fraley & Roberts, 2005; Roberts & DelVecchio, 2000), BJW could be targeted instead of personality in an attempt to reduce the antisocial behaviours associated with Dark Triad traits, assuming BJW can bring about change in personality over time. Just World Beliefs have been shown to be somewhat malleable; being vulnerable to strong influence from television media (Appel, 2008) and even mood (Goldenberg & Forgas, 2012). They are also easily threatened by stimuli which challenge their BJW, most commonly through observing a victim suffering (Correia, Vala, & Aguiar, 2007; Lerner & Miller, 1978; Miller, 1977). Assuming BJW has a relationship with Dark Triad traits, and that this relationship can bring about personality and/or behavioural change over time, research in this area could provide a new avenue of consideration for practitioners working with Dark Triad individuals. The present study investigated whether any of the Dark Triad traits of Psychopathy, Narcissism, and Machiavellianism showed any relationship with BJW; as well as how strong and in what direction this relationship erred. It was hypothesised that
  7. 7. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 7 psychopathy and Machiavellianism would correlate negatively with BJW. It was also hypothesised that Narcissism would correlate positively with BJW.
  8. 8. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 8 2. Method 2.1 Sample& Procedure Participants were United Kingdom domiciles between the ages of 18 and 65 years old. All were recruited by the researcher through opportunity sampling via the internet. An online hyperlink leading to the questionnaire was shared on the social media websites Facebook and Twitter along with a brief but conservative introduction to the study. This hyperlink was also shared via posts on the forums The Student Room and Personality Cafe to reach potential participants all over the UK. Participants were further recruited secondarily from snowball sampling by asking participants who had already taken part to further share the questionnaire hyperlink among others online. This ensured a higher response rate and thus a more representative sample. Any responses gathered from those living outside the UK were omitted from data analysis to reduce possible confounding factors associated with differences in culture. A total of 194 responses were gathered, 17 responses were omitted due to not being from UK domiciles, leaving a final total of 177 valid responses. The mean age of all valid participants was 24.7 (SD=8.1) with 74.6% of respondents indicating that they were female (N=132), 24.3% indicating that they were male (N=43), and 1.1% opting to indicate as ‘Other’ (N=2).
  9. 9. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 9 3. Measures 3.1 The Short Dark Triad (SD3) (Jones & Paulhus, 2014) The SD3 is a 27 item questionnaire used to assess levels of subclinical psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism personality traits in neurotypical populations (see appendix 1). The questionnaire is split into 3 subscales, one measuring each trait. Each trait is measured by 9 statements which the participant must indicate agreement or disagreement with on a 1 to 5 Likert scale, where 1 is Strongly Disagree and 5 is Strongly Agree. Many studies on TDT have seen researchers using a different questionnaire tool to measure each DT trait (Jakobwitz & Egan, 2006; Jonason et al., 2009; Vernon, Villani, Vickers, & Harris, 2008) which is not overly economical in regards to data collection and analysis. These studies tended to use tools such as the The Self-Report Psychopathy Scale-III (Paulhus, Hemphill & Hare, in press), The Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (Levenson, Kiehl, & Fitzpatrick, 1995), The Mach-IV (Christie & Geis, 1970), and the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Hall, 1979). A higher response rate was expected by using the SD3 as it only took around 10 minutes of the participant’s time to fill out. Having the full questionnaire online also meant that participants were able to take part wherever and whenever they pleased, making it superior in some ways to the methods used in previous Dark Triad studies. The SD3 was also chosen due to the empirical evidence supporting its validity in measuring the aforementioned personality traits. Jones and Paulhus (2014) conducted four studies which supported the SD3 as being a reliable and valid measure of all DT traits. Many modern studies have also now used the SD3 in their DT research successfully (Arvan, 2013; Baughman, Dearing, Giammarco, & Vernon, 2012; Holtzman, 2011; Sumner, Byers, Boochever, & Park, 2012), further cementing that the SD3 is a useful and legitimate tool for
  10. 10. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 10 measuring DT traits. Of the shorter and more economical DT measures, the SD3 has also shown more validity and predictive power than the previously widely used Dirty Dozen created by Jonason and Webster (2010) (Jones & Paulhus, 2014; Lee et al., 2013; Maples, Lamkin, & Miller, 2014). 3.2 General Belief in a Just World Scale (Dalbert, Montada, & Schmitt, 1987) The GBJWS is a short 6-item questionnaire which measures the participant’s level of belief regarding whether the world is generally a just place (see appendix 2). Each item was a statement which the participant would read and then indicate how much they agreed with each statement via a 1-6 Likert scale, where 1 was Strongly Agree and 6 was Strongly Disagree. The GBJWS was chosen as a measure of just world beliefs for many reasons, including its common usage in just world research, and due to the fact it is economical for both gathering responses and for data analysis. The GBJWS has been successfully used to measure just world beliefs in a wide variety of research areas including in investigating BJW and internet use (Zhang, Zhang, & Zhu, 2013), attitudes towards immigration (Dalbert, & Yamauchi, 1994), its relationship with the five factor model of personality (Wolfradt, & Dalbert, 2003), and religious preferences (Zweigenhaft, 1985). Its wide use in so many different areas of research support its use in reliably measuring just world beliefs, allowing them to correlate with other constructs. The GBJWS can also be praised for its parsimony in that it can reliably measure just world beliefs using only 6 items (Dalbert & Katona-Sallay, 1996; Dalbert & Yamauchi, 1994). This makes it extremely economical for developing an online questionnaire, for making the questionnaire experience shorter for the convenience of participants, and for a more streamlined data analysis.
  11. 11. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 11 The General Belief in a Just World Scale was chosen over its personal counterpart, Dalbert’s (1999) Personal Belief in a Just World Scale (PBJWS), for two main reasons. Firstly, the present study aimed to investigate DT individuals with regards to their beliefs about how their actions are justified in the context of the morals instilled in the culture they live in. This would ask the question of whether DT individuals exhibit their ‘negative’ or ‘maladaptive’ behaviours with the reasoning that they are justified by virtue of living in an already unjust world. In contrast, using the PBJWS would arguably instead investigate whether DT individuals believed that their own life experiences and treatment by others has been justified or not. This is perhaps an area worth investigating with future research as it has been shown that many important life aspects can reliably be predicted from its use (Dalbert, 1999). 3.3 The OnlineQuestionnaire The online questionnaire (see appendix 3) consisted of an information form, a demographic information form, the SD3 and GBJWS tests, a debriefing form, and finally a thank you message. The information sheet gave the participant some vague but accurate information on what the study as investigating and what they should expect. It also informed participants how long the study was likely to take and contact information for if they wanted to contact the researcher. It asked the participant to check a box before clicking to continue, this confirmed that they understood what was required of them and was an indication that they agreed to take part. The demographic information form asked the participants a few non-personal questions so that data could be grouped by these variables during data analysis. These included questions on the sex of the participant, what country they currently lived in, and
  12. 12. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 12 their current age. Participants were also asked to give the last two letters of their postcode followed by the date of their birth. This would create a unique code of which their data could be identified from if required. Next participants would fill out both the SD3 and the GBJWS; these were recreated in digital form which allowed participants to take the tests by simply clicking on their level of agreement for each statement. Statements were displayed in a random order for every participant so as to reduce the chance that the participant would know what each scale was measuring. The debriefing form would then reveal the actual aims, objective, and hypotheses of the study. Participants were thanked for taking part and were once again given contact details of the researchers. At this point, the participant could either click the submit button to save their responses or they could navigate away from the page so that responses were not saved. This ensured that the participant had the option not to provide their data after learning of the true intentions of the study. The thank you message appeared after clicking the submit button on the debriefing form. It once again thanked the participant for taking part and also asked them to share the questionnaire hyperlink among friends and family on social media platforms.
  13. 13. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 13 4. Results 4.1 Descriptive Statistics Table 1 displays mean scores and standard deviations for overall scores (n=177) in each Dark Triad trait and BJW, as well as a breakdown by sex (Males n=43, Females n=132). See Appendix 4 for all SPSS data outputs. Table 1 - Descriptive Statistics Mean (SD) Overall Sample Mean (SD) Males Mean (SD) Females BJW Score 3.07 (.812) 2.96 (.979) 3.13 (.737) Psychopathy Score 2.09 (.591) 2.5 (.649) 1.96 (.511) Narcissism Score 2.53 (.598) 2.6 (.664) 2.51 (.579) Machiavellianism Score 2.98 (.696) 3.18 (.779) 2.9 (.649)
  14. 14. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 14 4.2 Inferential Statistics 4.2.1 Analysis of All Responses A Spearman’s Rho bivariate correlation was carried out to analyse the relationship between BJW and overall scores of each Dark Triad trait. Table 2 shows that there were no significant results found between each trait and BJW scores, however it should be noted that both psychopathy and narcissism showed close to significant results. Table 2 - Inferential Correlations Overall Belief in a Just World Score Correlation Coefficient Sig. (2-tailed) Overall Psychopathy Score -.139 .065 Overall Narcissism Score .144 .056 Overall Machiavellianism Score -.029 .702
  15. 15. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 15 4.2.2 Analysis of Sex Differences Data was split by sex and analysed once more using a Spearman’s Rho to look for differences between the sexes in regards to a correlation between each DT trait and BJW. Results showed a significant positive relationship between narcissism and BJW in males but not in females. Results of this analysis can be seen in Table 3. Table 3 - Inferential Correlations BetweenSexes Overall Belief in a Just World Score Correlation Coefficient Sig. (2-tailed) Male (N=43) Overall Psychopathy Score -.188 .228 Overall Machiavellianism Score -.012 .940 Overall Narcissism Score .315 .039* Female (N=132) Overall Psychopathy Score -.117 .182 Overall Machiavellianism Score .008 .930 Overall Narcissism Score .072 .409 ● * Indicates a significant result at the .05 level (two-tailed) A scatterplot showing the relationship between Overall Narcissism Score and Overall BJW Score in males can be seen in Figure 1.
  16. 16. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 16 Fig 1 - Scatterplot of Male Narcissism & BJW Scores
  17. 17. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 17 5. Discussion The present study aimed to find a relationship between Dark Triad personality traits and Belief in a Just World. Analysis of the data showed no significant correlation in either direction between the Dark Triad personality traits and BJW in the overall sample. In regards to narcissism, this is a similar result to Ames, Rose, and Anderson’s (2006) findings. However, a significant positive correlation was found between narcissism and BJW when considering only male respondents, this suggests that there may be sex differences regarding these constructs that have not yet been adequately explored. This finding may help in understanding the worldview of the narcissist in that how they view the world may coincide with a high BJW, while their actions themselves may not. One interpretation of the male narcissism and BJW relationship is that some narcissists may view the world as just if their position in that world is perceived to be superior to others. The narcissist may believe that the reality they live in is a just world because they perceive themselves to have an abundance of positive qualities that they objectively deserve. Being aware of such as mind-set may help in working with male narcissists in a therapeutic scenario where the practitioner is attempting to understand the point of view of the client. Future research is required in this area to firstly confirm a consistent relationship between narcissism and BJW in males, and secondly to explore whether this interpretation of the narcissist mind-set is valid. If this is the case, the next step may be to investigate whether this differs between the covert and overt narcissist described by Rose (2002). The sex differences in this finding are also worth exploring in order to understand the differences between and within each sex when discussing Dark Triad traits. It is well documented that females tend to score lower in all Dark Triad traits compared to males (Foster, Campbell, & Twenge, 2003; Jonason et al., 2009; Jonason, Li, & Buss, 2010;
  18. 18. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 18 Paulhus & Williams, 2002). Some studies have also found that males tend to score higher in BJW compared to females (Bègue & Bastounis, 2003; Hunt, 2000), however others have not observed this trend (Feather, 1991; Wolfradt & Dalbert, 2003), or rather conclude that this difference in negligible in terms of significance (O'Connor, Morrison, McLeod, & Anderson, 1996). It could simply be that males are more likely to be more narcissistic as well as having a higher BJW and that these two constructs compliment and reinforce each other via a positive feedback loop. It is important to consider the main limitation of the present study in that only around a quarter of responses were from male respondents, whereas almost three quarters were from females respondents. This poses two main issues, firstly, that the correlation between narcissism and BJW in the overall sample may not have reached significance because of the overabundance of female responses which are characterised by lower scores in Dark Triad traits (Foster, Campbell, & Twenge, 2003; Jonason et al., 2009; Jonason, Li, & Buss, 2010; Paulhus & Williams, 2002). This may explain why the correlation between narcissism and BJW in the overall sample only approached significance at the .05 level r(175)=.144, p=.056. The second issue is that the relationship between narcissism and BJW in males is based on a fairly small sample of males (43 in total) which may not be overly representative of the population. Future replications could recruit a much larger sample size, with an equal ratio of males to females, in order to confirm this sex difference and to aid in explaining its origins if it is consistently present. Assuming that male narcissism and BJW show a consistent relationship, it could very well be argued that males may benefit overall by embracing narcissism with the idea that this may also increase their BJW. Such individuals could reap the benefits of narcissism such as an increased self-esteem (Sedikides, Rudich, Gregg, Kumashiro, & Rusbult, 2004) and increased creativity (Furnham et al. 2013) while also benefiting from a high BJW which is
  19. 19. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 19 associated with increased life satisfaction (Correia, Batista, & Lima, 2009). The advantages of increasing both traits could also continue into improving relationships with others depending on what the individual values, such as having more sexual partners (Jonason et al., 2012) or generally acting more prosocial towards others (Strelan, 2007). Developing a stronger narcissistic outlook may also bring with it some inherent disadvantages however. Some researchers have linked the trait with poorer long-term academic performance (Robins & Beer, 2001), counterproductive work behaviour (Grijalva & Newman, 2014; Penney & Spector, 2002), and increased aggressive behaviours (Reidy, Zeichner, Foster, & Martinez, 2008). Similarly, a high BJW has been linked with authoritarian attitudes (Connors & Heaven, 1987) and revenge-seeking (Kaiser, Brooke Vick, & Major, 2004). The potentially positive impact of the individual of being a narcissist with a strong BJW has implications for the classic argument of whether narcissism can be considered healthy or not. Publications as early as those written in 1914 by Sigmund Freud (2014) have argued for narcissism to be a normal and healthy part of child development. More modern empirical studies have even supported the positive elements of narcissism by demonstrating its relationship with traits such as everyday wellbeing and self-esteem (Sedikides et al., 2004). In contrast, other individuals such as Lasch (1978) have argued that narcissism is inherently negative and destructive, and that the trait has penetrated into most aspects of normalised culture. Considering all of the advantages narcissism may bring, especially when considered with the benefits of having a high BJW, this attitude of a healthy narcissism, similar to that of Federn (1953), may one day become normalised. Practitioners may find themselves fostering a healthy narcissism in clients as a way of increasing self-esteem and life satisfaction, among other benefits. Further research should investigate the trait of narcissism as a tool for positive self-growth; its therapeutic use could see it growing as a positive personality trait in moderation.
  20. 20. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 20 With both the benefits and negatives in mind, the conclusion one may arrive at is that narcissism bestows both advantages and disadvantages to the individual in different scenarios, this more neutral way of perceiving narcissism is echoed by the likes of Campbell and Foster (2007). An individual may be making a trade-off by embracing narcissism. Whether this trade-off is overall positive or negative is a matter of individual perspective, something which would likely be influenced by past experience, moral attitudes, and social context. Interestingly, Campbell and Foster (2007, pp. 125-126) appear to support the argument that narcissism is a helpful trait, purporting “that narcissism is either neutral or even slightly beneficial for individuals”. Perhaps by reframing narcissism in a more healthy and constructive way, one can develop beneficial thinking and behaviour reminiscent of the helpful attributes of both narcissism and strong BJW. The present study represents the first attempt at investigating the relationship between the traits within the Dark Triad model and Belief in a Just World. While none of the stated hypotheses were supported by the attained results, an unexpected positive relationship was uncovered in the form of narcissism and BJW in the male sample. While Psychopathy and Narcissism were not found to have a significant relationship with BJW in the overall sample, this is strongly believed to be due to issues with methodology. This single element is what future studies in this area of research should focus on in order to confirm whether this relationship between narcissism and BJW is consistent in both the general population and in male narcissists. Such research will prove valuable in the attempt to understand how Dark Triad individuals perceive the external world in a moralistic context.
  21. 21. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 21 Acknowledgements This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
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  29. 29. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 29 Appendix 1 - The Short Dark Triad (SD3) (Jones & Paulhus, 2014) Please rate your agreement or disagreement with each item using the following guidelines. 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither Agree nor Disagree Agree Strongly Agree Machiavellianism subscale 1. It's not wise to tell your secrets. 2. I like to use clever manipulation to get my way. 3. Whatever it takes, you must get the important people on your side. 1. Avoid direct conflict with others because they may be useful in the future. 2. It’s wise to keep track of information that you can use against people later. 3. You should wait for the right time to get back at people. 4. There are things you should hide from other people because they don’t need to know. 5. Make sure your plans benefit you, not others. 6. Most people can be manipulated. Narcissism subscale 1. People see me as a natural leader. 2. I hate being the center of attention. (R) 3. Many group activities tend to be dull without me. 4. I know that I am special because everyone keeps telling me so. 5. I like to get acquainted with important people. 6. I feel embarrassed if someone compliments me. (R) 7. I have been compared to famous people. 8. I am an average person. (R) 9. I insist on getting the respect I deserve.
  30. 30. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 30 Psychopathy 1. I like to get revenge on authorities. 2. I avoid dangerous situations. (R) 3. Payback needs to be quick and nasty. 4. People often say I’m out of control. 5. It’s true that I can be mean to others. 6. People who mess with me always regret it. 7. I have never gotten into trouble with the law. (R) 8. I enjoy having sex with people I hardly know 9. I’ll say anything to get what I want. SCORING AND PSYCHOMETRICS Reverse the scoring on all the reversals items (marked with R). Then calculate the mean of the 9 items within each subscale: The following norms are based on a sample of 387 undergraduate students. NORMS Mean S.D. Alpha Machiavellianism 3.1 .76 .78 Narcissism 2.8 .88 .77 Psychopathy 2.4 1.0 .80 INTERCORRELATIONS
  31. 31. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 31 Machiavellianism Narcissism Psychopathy Machiavellianism -- .23 .37 Narcissism -- .20 Psychopathy --
  32. 32. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 32 Appendix 2 - General Belief in a Just World Scale (Dalbert, Montada, & Schmitt, 1987)
  33. 33. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 33 Appendix 3 - Online Questionnaire Appendix 3.1 - Information Form
  34. 34. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 34 Appendix 3.2 - Demographic Information Form
  35. 35. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 35 Appendix 3.3 - General Belief in a Just World Scale Within Online Questionnaire
  36. 36. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 36 Appendix 3.4 - Short Dark Triad (SD3) Within Online Questionnaire
  37. 37. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 37 Appendix 3.5 - Debriefing Form
  38. 38. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 38 Appendix 3.6 - ‘Thank you’ Message
  39. 39. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 39 Appendix 4 – SPSS Data Outputs Descriptives Descriptive Statistics N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation Variance Respondant Overall BJW Score 177 1.17 5.67 3.0687 .81290 .661 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score 177 1.44 5.00 2.9774 .69634 .485 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score 177 1.22 4.22 2.5304 .59794 .358 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score 177 1.00 4.11 2.0954 .59184 .350 Valid N (listwise) 177 Descriptives What is your sex? = Female Descriptive Statisticsa N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation Variance Respondant Overall BJW Score 132 1.33 5.67 3.1250 .73746 .544 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score 132 1.56 4.44 2.9015 .64900 .421 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score 132 1.22 4.11 2.5135 .57866 .335 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score 132 1.00 3.56 1.9613 .51130 .261 Valid N (listwise) 132
  40. 40. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 40 a. What is your sex? = Female What is your sex? = Male Descriptive Statisticsa N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation Variance Respondant Overall BJW Score 43 1.17 5.00 2.9574 .97935 .959 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score 43 1.44 5.00 3.1783 .77934 .607 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score 43 1.22 4.22 2.5969 .66447 .442 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score 43 1.11 4.11 2.5039 .64895 .421 Valid N (listwise) 43 a. What is your sex? = Male What is your sex? = Other Descriptive Statisticsa N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation Variance Respondant Overall BJW Score 2 1.33 2.17 1.7500 .58926 .347 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score 2 2.89 4.44 3.6667 1.09994 1.210 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score 2 2.00 2.44 2.2222 .31427 .099 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score 2 1.89 2.44 2.1667 .39284 .154 Valid N (listwise) 2
  41. 41. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 41 a. What is your sex? = Other Explore Case Processing Summary Cases Valid Missing Total N Percent N Percent N Percent Respondant Overall BJW Score 177 100.0% 0 0.0% 177 100.0% Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score 177 100.0% 0 0.0% 177 100.0% Respondant Overall Narcissism Score 177 100.0% 0 0.0% 177 100.0% Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score 177 100.0% 0 0.0% 177 100.0% Descriptives Statistic Std. Error Respondant Overall BJW Score Mean 3.0687 .06110 95% Confidence Interval for Mean Lower Bound 2.9482 Upper Bound 3.1893 5% Trimmed Mean 3.0692 Median 3.0000 Variance .661 Std. Deviation .81290 Minimum 1.17 Maximum 5.67
  42. 42. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 42 Range 4.50 Interquartile Range 1.08 Skewness .077 .183 Kurtosis .071 .363 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Mean 2.9774 .05234 95% Confidence Interval for Mean Lower Bound 2.8741 Upper Bound 3.0807 5% Trimmed Mean 2.9657 Median 3.0000 Variance .485 Std. Deviation .69634 Minimum 1.44 Maximum 5.00 Range 3.56 Interquartile Range 1.00 Skewness .199 .183 Kurtosis -.174 .363 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Mean 2.5304 .04494 95% Confidence Interval for Mean Lower Bound 2.4417 Upper Bound 2.6191 5% Trimmed Mean 2.5119 Median 2.4444 Variance .358 Std. Deviation .59794 Minimum 1.22 Maximum 4.22 Range 3.00
  43. 43. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 43 Interquartile Range .78 Skewness .493 .183 Kurtosis .082 .363 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Mean 2.0954 .04449 95% Confidence Interval for Mean Lower Bound 2.0076 Upper Bound 2.1832 5% Trimmed Mean 2.0702 Median 2.0000 Variance .350 Std. Deviation .59184 Minimum 1.00 Maximum 4.11 Range 3.11 Interquartile Range .89 Skewness .640 .183 Kurtosis .302 .363 Tests of Normality Kolmogorov-Smirnova Shapiro-Wilk Statistic df Sig. Statistic df Sig. Respondant Overall BJW Score .085 177 .003 .990 177 .222 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score .058 177 .200* .990 177 .246 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score .094 177 .001 .974 177 .002 Respondant Overall .105 177 .000 .965 177 .000
  44. 44. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 44 Psychopathy Score *. This is a lowerbound of the true significance. a. Lilliefors Significance Correction Nonparametric Correlations Correlations Respondant Overall BJW Score Respondant Overall Machiavellianis m Score Spearman's rho Respondant Overall BJW Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 -.029 Sig. (2-tailed) . .702 N 177 177 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Correlation Coefficient -.029 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) .702 . N 177 177 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Correlation Coefficient .144 .295** Sig. (2-tailed) .056 .000 N 177 177 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Correlation Coefficient -.139 .489** Sig. (2-tailed) .065 .000 N 177 177 Correlations Respondant Respondant
  45. 45. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 45 Overall Narcissism Score Overall Psychopathy Score Spearman's rho Respondant Overall BJW Score Correlation Coefficient .144 -.139 Sig. (2-tailed) .056 .065 N 177 177 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Correlation Coefficient .295** .489** Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 N 177 177 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 .288** Sig. (2-tailed) . .000 N 177 177 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Correlation Coefficient .288** 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) .000 . N 177 177 **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Nonparametric Correlations What is your sex? = Female Correlationsa Respondant Overall BJW Score Respondant Overall Machiavellianis m Score Spearman's rho Respondant Overall BJW Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 .008
  46. 46. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 46 Sig. (2-tailed) . .930 N 132 132 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Correlation Coefficient .008 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) .930 . N 132 132 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Correlation Coefficient .072 .277** Sig. (2-tailed) .409 .001 N 132 132 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Correlation Coefficient -.117 .425** Sig. (2-tailed) .182 .000 N 132 132 Correlationsa Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Spearman's rho Respondant Overall BJW Score Correlation Coefficient .072 -.117 Sig. (2-tailed) .409 .182 N 132 132 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Correlation Coefficient .277** .425** Sig. (2-tailed) .001 .000 N 132 132 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 .252** Sig. (2-tailed) . .004
  47. 47. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 47 N 132 132 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Correlation Coefficient .252** 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) .004 . N 132 132 **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). a. What is your sex? = Female What is your sex? = Male Correlationsa Respondant Overall BJW Score Respondant Overall Machiavellianis m Score Spearman's rho Respondant Overall BJW Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 -.012 Sig. (2-tailed) . .940 N 43 43 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Correlation Coefficient -.012 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) .940 . N 43 43 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Correlation Coefficient .315* .347* Sig. (2-tailed) .039 .023 N 43 43 Respondant Overall Correlation -.188 .652**
  48. 48. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 48 Psychopathy Score Coefficient Sig. (2-tailed) .228 .000 N 43 43 Correlationsa Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Spearman's rho Respondant Overall BJW Score Correlation Coefficient .315* -.188 Sig. (2-tailed) .039 .228 N 43 43 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Correlation Coefficient .347* .652** Sig. (2-tailed) .023 .000 N 43 43 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 .413** Sig. (2-tailed) . .006 N 43 43 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Correlation Coefficient .413** 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) .006 . N 43 43 *. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). a. What is your sex? = Male What is your sex? = Other
  49. 49. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 49 Correlationsa Respondant Overall BJW Score Respondant Overall Machiavellianis m Score Spearman's rho Respondant Overall BJW Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 -1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) . . N 2 2 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Correlation Coefficient -1.000** 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) . . N 2 2 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Correlation Coefficient -1.000** 1.000** Sig. (2-tailed) . . N 2 2 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Correlation Coefficient -1.000** 1.000** Sig. (2-tailed) . . N 2 2 Correlationsa Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Spearman's rho Respondant Overall BJW Score Correlation Coefficient -1.000 -1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) . .
  50. 50. J. Peutherer& L. Ireland| The Relationship Between Dark TriadTraits of PersonalityandBelief in a Just World 50 N 2 2 Respondant Overall Machiavellianism Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) . . N 2 2 Respondant Overall Narcissism Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) . . N 2 2 Respondant Overall Psychopathy Score Correlation Coefficient 1.000** 1.000 Sig. (2-tailed) . . N 2 2 **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). a. What is your sex? = Other

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