Research Topic

Positive and Negative Psychosocial Outcomes of the “Dark” Personality Traits

About this Research Topic

The term dark personalities refer to a set of socially aversive traits (such as spitefulness, greed, sadism, narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) in the subclinical range. First coined by Paulhus and Williams, it has attracted an exponential increase of empirical attention in recent years. Much of the research in the last decade has linked these dark traits to negative psychosocial outcomes, such as delinquency, unethical work-place behaviors, and mental illness. Nevertheless, the dark personalities vary along a continuum of well-being and adjustment, with some (e.g. narcissism) showing more positive associations with mental health and well-being than others.

The dark personalities have been associated with some of humanity’s greatest vices and also humanity’s key virtues. After a decade of research into the positive and negative outcomes of dark personality traits, there is a need for studies to examine the mediational mechanisms that may explain the relationship between the dark personality traits and those outcomes. Moreover, as people from different cultures live their lives differently, practice different customs, have different child-rearing practices, and so on, it is also important to examine how culture exerts its influence on these traits. Are there any cultural differences that may affect how people see a trait as “dark”? Are there any culture-specific dark personality traits? What are the culturally specific factors related to positive and negative outcomes of dark traits? How do these traits manifest themselves in various cultures and languages?

In this Research Topic, we welcome articles which enhance our understanding of the structure of the dark triad/tetrad of personality, the processes which cause these traits to emerge, their positive and negative outcomes in every aspect of life including, but not limited, to health, education, family, work, economy, politics, morality, and religion. We invite papers that focus on cross-cultural design, interaction effects and mediational mechanisms underlying the links between dark traits and other variables.


Keywords: personality, dark triad, dark tetrad, psychopathy, narcissism, machiavellianism, sadism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The term dark personalities refer to a set of socially aversive traits (such as spitefulness, greed, sadism, narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) in the subclinical range. First coined by Paulhus and Williams, it has attracted an exponential increase of empirical attention in recent years. Much of the research in the last decade has linked these dark traits to negative psychosocial outcomes, such as delinquency, unethical work-place behaviors, and mental illness. Nevertheless, the dark personalities vary along a continuum of well-being and adjustment, with some (e.g. narcissism) showing more positive associations with mental health and well-being than others.

The dark personalities have been associated with some of humanity’s greatest vices and also humanity’s key virtues. After a decade of research into the positive and negative outcomes of dark personality traits, there is a need for studies to examine the mediational mechanisms that may explain the relationship between the dark personality traits and those outcomes. Moreover, as people from different cultures live their lives differently, practice different customs, have different child-rearing practices, and so on, it is also important to examine how culture exerts its influence on these traits. Are there any cultural differences that may affect how people see a trait as “dark”? Are there any culture-specific dark personality traits? What are the culturally specific factors related to positive and negative outcomes of dark traits? How do these traits manifest themselves in various cultures and languages?

In this Research Topic, we welcome articles which enhance our understanding of the structure of the dark triad/tetrad of personality, the processes which cause these traits to emerge, their positive and negative outcomes in every aspect of life including, but not limited, to health, education, family, work, economy, politics, morality, and religion. We invite papers that focus on cross-cultural design, interaction effects and mediational mechanisms underlying the links between dark traits and other variables.


Keywords: personality, dark triad, dark tetrad, psychopathy, narcissism, machiavellianism, sadism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2020 Abstract
31 January 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2020 Abstract
31 January 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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