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Why are people drawn to psychopaths?

NEED TO KNOW
  • Researchers determine correlation between dark personalities and self-achieved physical attractiveness
  • Study identifies the 'Dark Triad' of darker characteristics: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy
Why are people drawn to psychopaths?

A new study reported by Scientific American may explain what draws many people to psychopaths.

Research leaders Nicholas Holtzman and Michael Strube of St. Louis’s Washington University determined that there is a correlation between dark personalities and self-achieved physical attractiveness.

The Huffington Post covered the story, noting that the study required 111 college students, 64% of whom were female, to take tests that rated them for eight different personality traits, including what the study identifies as the "Dark Triad" of darker characteristics: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. The subjects were also reviewed by their peers so that a more accurate personality score could be derived from the two assessments.

Additionally, the subjects were photographed in both their everyday chosen look and a clean, non-personalized state. Both sets of pictures were rated for physical attractiveness by a separate group of people.

The results showed that subjects who rated high in the “Dark Triad” of personality traits were found to be more attractive than those who rated low, HuffPost explained. The same occurred for individuals who rated high for psychopathy alone. For those subjects who were not allowed to dress themselves or do their hair and/or makeup, there was no correlation between their attractiveness and any dark personality traits.

The study ultimately concluded that it “provides the first experimental evidence that dark personalities construct appearances that act as social lures -- possible facilitating their cunning social strategies.”

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