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ASMXXX10.1177/1073191113514105AssessmentJones and Paulhus

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Introducing the Short Dark Triad (SD3): A
2014, Vol. 21(1) 28­–41
© The Author(s) 2013
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Brief Measure of Dark Personality Traits sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav
DOI: 10.1177/1073191113514105
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Daniel N. Jones1 and Delroy L. Paulhus2

Abstract
Three socially aversive traits—Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy—have been studied as an overlapping
constellation known as the Dark Triad. Here, we develop and validate the Short Dark Triad (SD3), a brief proxy measure.
Four studies (total N = 1,063) examined the structure, reliability, and validity of the subscales in both community and
student samples. In Studies 1 and 2, structural analyses yielded three factors with the final 27 items loading appropriately on
their respective factors. Study 3 confirmed that the resulting SD3 subscales map well onto the longer standard measures.
Study 4 validated the SD3 subscales against informant ratings. Together, these studies indicate that the SD3 provides
efficient, reliable, and valid measures of the Dark Triad of personalities.

Keywords
subclinical, Dark Triad, psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism

Despite their distinctive theoretical roots, the literatures on three traits in a single study. Even with the shortest versions
three socially aversive personalities—narcissism, Machiavelli- of each construct, the total number of items is 65—still tax-
anism, and psychopathy—have become so expansive that the ing when time and space are at a premium. For practical
distinctions have become muddied. As a result, some observ- use, a valid and reliable short measure of the Dark Triad is
ers concluded that the three variables are interchangeable in needed. That need motivated our development of the Short
normal samples (e.g., McHoskey, Worzel, & Syzarto, 1998). Dark Triad (SD3) scale.
Disputing that allegation, Paulhus and Williams (2002) coined
the term Dark Triad to encourage researchers to study the three
The Dirty Dozen
traits in tandem: Only then can their distinctiveness be clari-
fied. If studied alone, any observed correlates may actually Currently, the only brief measure of the Dark Triad is the
reflect overlap with one of the other Dark Triad members. “Dirty Dozen” (DD) scale (Jonason & Webster, 2010).
Although research on the triad has continued to expand (for a Unfortunately, it appears to be too short—only four items
review, see Furnham, Richards, & Paulhus, 2013), some per construct. As a result, the instrument has been critiqued
researchers may have been deterred by the combined length of in several recent reports (Lee et al., 2013; Miller et al.,
the available measures. 2012; Rauthmann, 2013).
Consider the popular questionnaire measures of psy- At a minimum, short measures should line up with the
chopathy. The widely used Self-Report Psychopathy (SRP- gold standard measures (see Credé, Harms, Niehorster, &
III) scale requires 64 items (Mahmut, Menictas, Stevenson, Gaye-Valentine, 2012; Hubley & Zumbo, 1996). To date,
& Homewood, 2011; Williams, Paulhus, & Hare, 2007). research on the DD indicates only a weak correspondence
Even longer is the Psychopathic Personality Inventory– (Jonason & Webster, 2010). According to Miller et al.
Revised, which has more than 100 items (Lilienfeld & (2012), the reason may be that shortening the DD subscales
Andrews, 1996). Abbreviated versions of these two measures required removal of some essential content.
have been whittled down to 29 and 56 items, respectively—
just to measure psychopathy. The standard measure of
Machiavellianism (Mach-IV; Christie & Geis, 1970) has 20 1
University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA
items and the most popular measure of narcissism, the 2
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; Raskin & Hall,
1979) has 40. Also available is a validated short version, the Corresponding Author:
Delroy L. Paulhus, Department of Psychology, University of British
NPI-16 (Ames, Rose, & Anderson, 2006). Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4,
Given the length of these instruments, it is understand- Canada.
able why some researchers may be reluctant to include all Email: dpaulhus@psych.ubc.ca

2005). John & culating orientation. we sought to develop subscales Narcissism. Seminal researchers (Cleckley.. This malignant version (1513/1981). Although grandiosity can certainly be maladaptive (Morf & and pay little attention to their reputations (Hare & Rhodewalt. recklessness. and do their best to maintain a positive reputation. there is little support for the role of inner Neumann. subscales—they are all respectable. 2006. 2012). 2010. As a result. Even more damaging is the fact that cross. the three constructs without building in redundancy or forc- ing independence. 1998). Webster. In sum. (b) callous affect. military strategist.. The element of impulsivity is key in distinguishing psy- Distinct Theoretical Roots chopathy from Machiavellianism and influenced our item Item generation for the SD3 began by consulting a recent selection for the SD3. evident in subclinical narcissism. 2008). Jones that were loyal to their theoretical roots and then evaluate and Paulhus (2011b) drew on Kernberg (1975) and Kohut their empirical associations. 2011a. Our assumption was that clarification of chopathy (Hicks et al. as the only competitor for the SD3. Nonetheless. Cook. Binning.. and reputation building. Campbell. Both those sources argued that narcissistic behavior was marked by manipulation and callousness. 2010). Lykken. psychopaths manifest their concluded that the SD3 adequately captures the nuances of callousness in a short-term fashion (Jones & Paulhus. the popular Mach-IV items include remains the concern for clinicians dealing with pathological cynical worldview. the DD Mach Hare. the classic conceptions would permit operationalization of & Sadeh. 2004). Visser. only one published report has directly psychopathy (Hall & Benning. Finally. narcissism was defined by a clash between a grandiose influenced by the political strategist. 2009). and manipulativeness cases of narcissism (see. The advent of the NPI (Raskin & Hall. (1978). The authors Adorno. 2013). Emmons. family members (Barber. 2013). 2008. When compared with other measures. Bay. 2009. correlations are often stronger than convergent correlations with the corresponding gold standard measures (Jonason & Psychopathy. 2011a). 2011. 1995) have pointed to two key ele- scale showed strong positive correlations with measures of ments of psychopathy—deficits in affect (i. 2008). Unfortunately and self-control (i. traits (i. ose from vulnerable narcissism (Pincus et al. 1941/1976. each construct whereas the DD taps only limited elements. recent review by Jones and Paulhus (2009) also drew atten. As the seminal sources for their review.. ances. However. 2001). & compared the SD3 to the DD (Lee et al. Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Samsom. and their col- When overlap is controlled.e. 1998). build alli. has remained central to criminal (Hare & Neumann. abandon friends. They avoid manipulating Lukowitsky. even if those lies compro- DD. 2011b). & Conroy. Our emphasis on impulsivity renders review of the seminal sources for each construct (see. In two-factor solutions. Lebreton. high reliabil. Jones our conception closer to secondary than to primary psy- & Paulhus. McCoon. manipulativeness.. Intrapsychically. the mise their long-term interests1 (Paulhus & Jones. Thus callous manipulation combines with other short-term parisons at both the conceptual and empirical levels. Whereas other entitlement (Kubarych. 1992). Sun Tzu added key element in the NPI appears to be grandiosity (Miller & planning. research has supported these leagues have developed an instrument that separates grandi- assertions: Machiavellians are strategic rather than impul. callousness) short-term orientation (Jonason & Tost. for example. Pincus.. labeled (self-attributed) leadership or authority. sive (Jones & Paulhus. Niccolo Machiavelli identity and underlying insecurity. 1987).. the first-century the research energy toward subclinical narcissism (e.Jones and Paulhus 29 The DD cannot be faulted for the reliabilities of its feigning weakness (Shepperd & Socherman. 2006). In introducing the concept into the per. In sum.. and thrill seeking) to engender bold and relentless criminal behavior (Hare & Neumann. tent with the original conception (Jones & Paulhus. and (c) a strategic-cal- tive wording of narrow content (Credé et al.. by researchers. the key elements of Machiavellianism appear to be (a) ities for four-item measures can only be achieved via repeti. Christie and Geis (1970) were primarily ever. In sum. For example. 2007). Newman. 2008). 2007). and family. (see. To reify that distinction. 1979) directed tion to a neglected predecessor. and any other behavioral Other than insecurity. insecurity as the driving force (Campbell & Foster. namely. 1970. 2012). how- sonality literature. DD was included in the present research for in-depth com. Pincus. 2007.g. The self-control deficit the finding that Machiavellians are impulsive is inconsis. psychopaths act impulsively.. Pincus et al. 1997). Rauthmann. This last element is often overlooked Seto. Deary. coalition formation. impulsivity). one is variously The latter qualities turn out to be important in distin.e. the clinical manifestations are also tactics that might harm their reputation. Consequently. grandiosity . lack of morality. & Myburgh. The more 2009). Hicks et al. Machiavellians plan ahead. much like Machiavellianism. and the guishing psychopathy from Machiavellianism. Morey et al. For example. the empirical literature does not favor use of the they lie for immediate rewards. 2007) as well as noncriminal conceptions of As far as we know. Sun Tzu (Shibing & Duyvendak. & Paulhus. the Along with themes similar to Machiavelli’s. Wright.. review by Fehr. Vaughn. 2010).e. Wright. 2012. & Austin.

2011. 4% African predicted by Machiavellianism. Whereas ego-reinforcement is the we included items tapping self-centeredness and grandios- all-consuming motive behind narcissistic behavior. We began with a pool of items designed to circumscribe the if that grandiosity is threatened (Bushman & Baumeister. callous manipulation.” A total of 2% to 4% were caught this callous core that encourages interpersonal manipulation. the cognitive processes of narcis. from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Therefore. Par- item set down to the final set of 27 items. 2008. 2003). agree). Chandler. 2010). Thus. 47% were female. The ing that the subscales possessed acceptable internal consis. lousness that encourages interpersonal manipulation (Jones The result was a 27-item instrument. we included two valid- chopathic behavior (b) Machiavellianism differs from psy. rating items were used (see. . even aggression. Finally. response format was 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly tencies and concurrent validities with established measures. Narcissistic Study 1: Item Selection and Reduction grandiosity also promotes a sense of entitlement (Bushman. 11% South Asian. The reason. the notion of lar. SD = 11. we focus on structure. The questionnaire package was placed on the seminal literatures. van Dijk. MTurk has proved to be an invaluable source of data for survey research: The data surpass student samples in diver- Overview of the Present Studies sity and are comparable in quality (Buhrmester. Jones & Paulhus. It way. self-reports. we argue. & Ipeirotis. For subclinical narcissism. discriminant relations with other relevant variables. reliability. 2006). gender. 2010). 1995). and concurrent psychology. we confirmed that informant perceptions corroborate the Rather than deliberate. psycho. age. Country of ori- social behavior will be best predicted by psychopathy. Item pleted the half-hour task for $50.  Participants consisted of 489 adults recruited best predicted by narcissism. whereas instrumental goals drive Machiavellian and psy.09 and. We then advanced ticipants were then asked to rate their agreement with each the construct validity of the final instrument by demonstrat. (c) all three have a oxygen every day. of the 41 items generated for the SD3 (Table 1). and antisocial behavior. Elimination of these individuals had minimal effect on was with these guiding principles that we selected items for our results and certainly did not alter our message. To check for random responding. & Figueredo. classic conceptions of the Dark Triad constructs. Paolacci.72 years. ing in self-destructive behaviors (Vazire & Funder. age = 30. 10% other). Emmons. Wai & Tiliopoulos. we ensured that subclinical psychopathy was repre- narcissistic self-hate has little support (Campbell & Foster. Messick. heritage. They lowing: (a) ego-identity goals drive narcissistic behavior. Ethnici- outcomes predicted by a strategic orientation will be best ties: 67% European heritage. ity check items: “I was born in Pago-Pago” and “I breathe chopathy with respect to temporal focus. validity to build the SD3 instrument. is that they share a common cal. ethnicity). sented by items tapping impulsivity.. sented in the Dark Triad. Machiavellian facets included cyn- It is this grandiose variant of narcissism that is repre. only paths and Machiavellians are more motivated by instrumen. 2007). A similar the new instrument.50). MTurk has now become a popular source of partici- several steps are considered essential. & Baumeister. Kwang. the three traits Method exhibit unique behavior: Ego-promoting outcomes will be Participants. was a delicate combination of rational and empirical steps. thereby precipitating similar behav. 2002). Mean In sum.30 Assessment 21(1) leads narcissistic individuals on a never-ending quest for We went on to show coherent patterns of convergent and ego-reinforcement (Morf & Rhodewalt. were paid a small fee ($0. boasts even when it can be verified that they exaggerate their competence (Paulhus & Williams. It began with a series of refinement and structural analyses finally winnowed this demographic questions (e. and economics. we assembled a large item pool to Mturk website for 3 weeks and interested participants com- ensure coverage of the key aspects of each concept. the goals of the different Dark Triad members ber of items as much as possible and (b) to retain the con- may sometimes align. 5% East Asian. tal or material gain. Guided by the Jones and Paulhus (2011b) review of the Procedure. Jones and Paulhus (2011b) concluded the fol. simi- lar instances of callous manipulation would be evident in all three Dark Triad traits. The final instrument was labeled the Short sists are more self-deceptive: They seem to believe their Dark Triad or SD3. often result. procedure was used in all our MTurk surveys. 3% Latino(a). 2012. 2001). and gin was restricted to Canada and the United States. 1987). Recall that our goal was twofold: (a) to reduce the num- Of course.g. the process ior. as well as report. result. ity: Instead of the forced choice format of the NPI. & Although the process of establishing construct validity is Gosling. In particu- 1998. In this preliminary pants for research in sociology. icism and manipulation tactics. ceptual facets of each triad member. As a never finalized (Furr & Bacharach.2 In other cases. In contrast. Bonacci. those involving reckless anti. 2012).

  My family is proud of everything I do. (Exhibitionism) Psychopathy items   1. (Reputation) 11. (reversal) (Cynicism) Narcissism items   1. (Grandiosity) 13.  There’s a sucker born every minute.  It’s better to be totally honest than to be successful.  Most people are basically good and kind.  I am a thrill seeker. (Callous Affect)   9.  I’ll say anything to get what I want. (Short-Term Manipulation) 14. (Reputation)   2. (reversal) (Grandiosity)   8.  Whatever it takes.  I like to get revenge on authorities.  Most people who get ahead in the world lead clean moral lives.  There are things you should hide from other people to preserve your reputation. (Cynicism)   3. (reversal) (Erratic Lifestyle)   3.* (reversal) (Cynicism)   6. (reversal) (Grandiosity)   4.  I hate being the center of attention.  People often say I’m out of control. (Antisocial Behavior)   2. That procedure resulted in the removal of four tends to overextract. you must get the important people on your side (Coalition Building)   8. we then conducted a final PCA on Next. (Erratic Lifestyle)   6. Given those changes.  You have to grab things while the opportunity is there. (reversal) (Cynicism)   7.  I insist on getting the respect that I deserve. the remaining 27 items.  I have been compared to famous people.Jones and Paulhus 31 Table 1. (Antisocial Behavior) 12. (reversal) (Exhibitionism)   3. (Leadership)   2. (Planning) 10. (Callous Affect) 11.  I like to get acquainted with important people. (Cynicism)   5.  I like to pick on losers. not others. (reversal) (Callous Affect) 15. (Planning) 13. (Entitlement) 12.  I am likely to show off if I get the chance. failed to load on their first unrotated principal component. the lowest load- rately for each of the three item-sets (the items assigned to ing psychopathy item was removed to yield nine items per each domains). (Callous Affect) Analyses. Results indicated six factors with principal axis factoring extraction) on the remaining 33 eigenvalues larger than 1.  Many group activities tend to be dull without me.3 Results revealed a total of eight items that subscale. Finally.  I feel embarrassed if someone compliments me. we conducted an exploratory factor analysis (EFA.  I hate movies where they show blood and guts.  People often think my stories are boring.  People see me as a natural leader.  Generally speaking. (Callous Affect)   5.  I avoid dangerous situations. (reversal) (Antisocial Behavior)   7. we conducted two tests: Velicer’s MAP . (Grandiosity)   7. (Entitlement) 10. Machiavellianism items   1.  The Original 41-Item Set With Theoretical Origins. (Planning) 12. (Short-Term Manipulation)   8.  It’s not wise to tell your secrets. (Exhibitionism)   9. (Grandiosity)   5. people won’t work hard unless they have to.  I know that I am special because everyone keeps telling me so.  Our analyses proceeded in four steps.  Most people deserve respect.  Make sure your plans benefit you. (reversal) (Antisocial Behavior) 13. (Grandiosity)   6.  I get bored hanging around with ordinary people.  I’m always feeling guilty.  It’s true that I can be nasty.  I get angry if someone turns down having sex with me.  Payback needs to be quick and nasty. (Coalition Building)   9. Because the “eigenvalue > 1” rule items. double-loaded with psychopathy. (reversal) (Exhibitionism) 11. (Cynicism)   4.  I have never gotten into trouble with the law.  It’s wise to keep track of information that you can use against people later.  I am an average person. (Short-Term Manipulation) 10.  You should wait for the right time to get back at people.  Those with talent and good looks should not hide them.  Avoid direct conflict with others because they may be useful in the future. (Erratic Lifestyle)   4.  People who mess with me always regret it. We began Machiavellianism items and one narcissism item that by extracting the first unrotated principal component sepa.

62 −.06 −.01 .06 −.17 .27 three values were significant at p < . The final EFA suggested Narc7 −. In sizes.33 .36 .60 .36 all items loaded appropriately (>. 1.05.00† . without blinding the gin was restricted to Canada and the United States.04 . researcher to the cross-loadings. Studies 1 and 2. Rather than a traditional confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).27 −.31 . Note that males scored result in a fitting model if there is ambiguity in the number higher on all three subscales.26 −. ESEM involves specifying one or more core African Heritage. Psyc9 .15 . Table 2 (first three columns) presents the results of Narc9 −.35 Subscales.05 −.59 .11 −.16 .04 .00† .35 .06. analyses.28 squares extraction and an oblique (promax) rotation.01 .52 .7 years.40 −. given its ability to handle Narc1 −.48 .38 .74 −.33 .50 psychopathy α = . To investigate pos- sible gender differences. 1986) and a parallel analysis Table 2.03 .11 −.09 .01 . 2009).67 −.59 both Velicer’s MAP and parallel analysis results.13 .07 −. 1.37 .02 .15 .001. studies using the final 27-item version.08 .  EFA and ESEM Factor Loadings for Final 27 Items in (Horn.22 and variance adjusted weighted least squares is recom.34. our three-factor Mach8 .20 mended for analysis of a polychoric correlation matrix Narc6 . When formed into composites.32 tively with psychopathy. Psyc5 .34 .52 −. McCrae et al. ESEM is an elegant method that allows for women. Participants were offered $50 to .50 .44 .39 .46 .10 ysis suggested four factors.05 EFA applied mean and variance adjusted weighted least Narc3 .02 . in Study 2. parallel anal. 1998-2007).73 .05 −.59. 15% Latino(a).15 software Mplus for this final EFA. ber of factors (O’Connor.04 −. The four adjusted eigenvalues Mach4 .11 this final EFA. 11% items while allowing the remaining item loadings to vary.25 −.00† polytomous data (Muthén & Muthén. SD = 10.62 .02 hypothesis was evaluated on the final 27 items.08 .14 .35 MAP suggested that three factors be retained.62 . Note.36 .00† .00† Mach7 .05 .02 .69 .71 .03 .50. we needed to cross-validate the three-factor struc- ture in a new data set. Study 2: Cross-Validation of the SD3 Accordingly. our method of choice was explor- Method atory structural equation modeling (ESEM.62 . All Psyc7 .11 −.01 .25. 1985) and can also provide Mach1 .14 . narcissism α = .57 .02 (Muthén & Muthén.10 −. 2009. ESEM = exploratory structural Item means for each subscale in the final instrument are equation modeling.38 9-item scales showed the expected positive intercorrela.44 . 8% In brief. Asparouhov & Participants were 279 adults recruited from MTurk (46% Muthén.41 −.71.18 . r = .02 .31 ..51 −.35 . which is unlikely to for male and female participants.77.43 .19 −.33 . a good CFA fit is unlikely for a multifactor inven- tory (Marsh et al.38 −.10 −. Mach5 .04 . The subscales also Psyc8 −. and 1.44 .00† .01 .30 .32 Assessment 21(1) criteria (Zwick & Velicer.28 . we calculated the values separately The criteria are less stringent than CFA. 2000). Psyc1 . 1. and with narcissism.30) on their corresponding Narc8 .60 showed modest.23 .30 −. but acceptable reliabilities (Mach α = . We used the Mach9 . Items (Mach) (Narc) (Psych) (Mach) (Narc) (Psych) choric correlation matrix necessary to analyze Likert-type data (see.76 −.30 −.62.58 .00 .18 factor.11 . Then we applied ESEM to cross-validate the Because the three composites were assembled from factor three factors.29 . EFA = exploratory factor analysis. 1996).02 . The anchor items are italicized and marked with a included in Table 3 – as are means from the subsequent dagger symbol “†”.20 .59 . Mach3 .32 −.46 −.18.9).17 . the three Psyc3 .21 .01 −.30 . and 1.02 .02 . Muthén & Kaplan.27 .14 −. 1998-2007). with moderate to large effect of factors to extract (which was the case in Study 1).56 . Mach6 .01 .72 −. Country of ori- a guided examination of loading fit. general.01 .74 tions of moderate size.31 −.03 .49 .04.14 . Other mixed ethnicities. Mean Narc4 . 6% South Asian. the four unadjusted eigen.32.04 . Our final Narc2 . 1965)—the two best methods for determining num.31 .23 .74).08 values were 2. Narc5 −.27 .17 .42 .48 .20 .25 were: 1. 4% East Asian.03 .16 .47 Psyc2 .15 .. which is capable of handling the poly. Velicer’s Mach2 .17 −. Machiavellianism correlated posi.05 −.04 .62 . 1. Psychopathy correlated with narcissism at r = . Ethnicities: 56% European Heritage.28 .60 Guided by Velicer’s MAP results. Psyc4 −. we collected a new sample of respondents (N = 279) who provided responses to the final Scales 27-item set. r = Psyc6 . mean age = 30.53 .50 .43 −.03 −.17. These methods were F1 F2 F3 F1 F2 F3 applied using R.05 .09 .

CFI = . Alphas ranged from .53) 2.45) 2. Williams.05. 19% East Asian. Paulhus.07.92).48.001 0.77).27 to .001 0. 2010)..52 Study 3: Concurrent Validition Against  Machiavellianism 3.61) 1.26 (0.57) 4. In The overall model fit was good (root mean square error addition to a total score (α = .52 (0.39) 6.92 (0. we used the comparison.04 (0.96 (0.04.55) 3.18 .002 0.011 0. For comparison. the “Dirty Dozen” (Jona- tion method. As before. & Hare. 5% African.34 Method  SRP-III 2. 2012.40 (see Table 4). As  NPI 0. The corresponding loadings from Study 1 provide a useful Psychopathy.39 . and Theta as son & Webster.30 Study 2 (N = 279) An essential step in validating a brief proxy is a study that  Psychopathy 2. >.004 0.43 before. Accordingly. complete the 27-item SD3 as part of a study on peer Measures attitudes. The instrument 2004). Neal & Sellbom. we also conducted a CFA on the has fared well in psychometric and validity evaluations present sample.63) 2.83 (0.56) 2. 2010).90 . in press.30). After recoding the We applied Mplus software (Version 7.017 0. Williams et al. NPI = Narcissistic Personality Inventory.41 .34 included the standard Dark Triad measures—Mach IV.29 et al.83). the SRP items were also of approximation [RMSEA] = .41 (0.39 .79 Participants.76 (0.5)..96 (0.78 (0.91) and compa. cross.001 0. with males scoring higher. a small fee.53) 2.89 <. = .46) 2. As the standard measure.46 <. 2011.005 0. SRP-III = Self-Report United States. Study 3 (N = 230) SRP-III.78 and the parameterization method. Participants completed the survey for differences were significant with p < .42) 2.63) 2.77 (0.83).19) 0.91 (0. male respondents scored used the 20-item Mach-IV (Christie & Geis. Table 2 shows the ESEM loadings (last three columns).40 (0. & Paulhus. The loaded in nontrivial ways: However those cross-loadings SRP items are presented in Likert-type format with anchors did not replicate across samples.82).54) 5. Study 3  Narcissism 2. Columns 2 and 3 lows: 62% European. Hau. we to those in Study 1. Erratic Lifestyle (α rable to previous ESEM studies (see Marsh. Hubley & Zumbo. and NPI—along with the SD3 subscales. tion (α = . country of origin was restricted to Canada and the Note.48) 3. Tucker–Lewis index [TLI] = .001 0.82. We set the top loading the intercorrelations ranged from . we included an alternative the rating data as polytymous using WLSMV as the extrac.59) 2. All sex Latino(a).27 (0. Alpha higher on all three subscales: Effect sizes were in the of the Mach-IV total was excellent (.20 (0. 5% are item means of responses collected in a 5-point item format.65 gauges its performance against the gold standard (Credé  Machiavellianism 3. short measure of the Dark Triad. Mach-IV = measure of Machiavellianism. Short Dark Triad (SD3). Neumann.24 Standard Measures  Narcissism 2.001 0. TLI = . SD = 10. mean age = 28. appropriately on their respective factors (i.16 <.  We used the final 27-item version to assess the Dark Triad (see the appendix). and Discussion (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). 2007).57 .005 0.54) 2. & Wen.19 (0. Alphas ranged from .68 to . sized factors. all items were presented in Likert-type format with anchors 1 Analyses.80).30 (0.67) 2. 3% other).43 <.  For comparison. each subscale was formed closely the ESEM procedure and syntax outlined by by averaging the items. moderate to high range.35  Narcissism 2. Participants were 230 adults recruited from  Mach-IV 2. and those of .79). 1970). All items loaded (at least . all items loaded Nathanson.1) and followed reversals (indicated with “R”).03 (0.74 and Asparouhov and Muthén (2009).00 (0.38 (0.54) 2. The ethnic heritage breakdown was as fol- Psychopathy. Table 4 provides the scale alphas and intercorrelations. Promax as the rotation method. As before.015 0.96 (0. Note from Table 3 that the SD3 scale means are similar Machiavellianism.84 . 2012.. Study 1 (N = 489)  Psychopathy 2. (RMSEA = .. item from Study 1 to load exclusively on its respective fac- tor. Only two items (Psychopathy 2 and 6). To measure Machiavellianism.64 (0. 1996). We treated Dirty Dozen.18) 3.57) 3. the psychometric properties of Men Women M (SD) M (SD) t p d the SD3 appear to be robust across samples.57) 5.64  Machiavellianism 3. Callous Affect (α = .38 (0.56) 2. comparative fit index averaged into four reliable facets: Interpersonal Manipula- [CFI] = .26) on the hypothe.4 ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).22 to . the subscales intercorrelations ranged from .73 to .  Psychopathy 2. Again.57) 2. 64-item Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (SRP-III.93.40 MTurk (58% female. Results.Jones and Paulhus 33 Table 3.  Subscale Means by Gender.12 (0.e. and Antisocial Behavior (α = . Although the fit was not impressive (Mahmut et al.45 .9 years. All other items were allowed to cross-load.

15c .20c SRP-III . All tests are two-tailed. Trapnell & Wiggins. DD = Dirty Dozen.42 (α = . 1970. 1979). Table 5. When disattenuated were . all SD3 measures show a clear correspon- dence with their criterion counterparts. Of course. Correlations within rows with different subscripts are significantly different from each other (p < .48b .20 are significant at p < . 2009).89). Differences in the correlational patterns were so minimal rachoric correlation matrix to analyze dichotomous items.24a . They are included in Table 3 along with the means debated. Narcissism. the reliability was even stronger (α = . Fully disattenuated correlations are on the diagonal.22 .82) . 1992.  We used the International Per. we calculated the descriptive statistics for the SD3 clinical narcissism.49b . . Facet Representation.46b (. Deary.82 NPI composite. Mrug.73 to .47a . examined the correlations of the brief measures with the 2008).78b (.92.73)   Narcissism . respectively).77 and .34 Assessment 21(1) Table 4. SD3 = Short Dark Triad. Although undoubtedly the most popular measure of sub. and .  Study 3: Concurrent Validities of SD3 and DD Measured Against Standard Measures.23a . the facets were acceptable: Cynical worldview (. the IPIP-IPC mea. In contrast.05). When combined into a total for measurement error.72) . Recall.26a . In the present sample. two-tailed.78) Note. Merritt.53b (. that we pooled across genders in all analyses.68 Corry and colleagues: In the present data. Mach-IV = Christie-Geis Machiavellianism.  We then broke the standard Dark Triad ance quadrant (Fehr et al.56. we opted for the two facets labeled standard Dark Triad measures. The Mach-IV was Markey. Previous research has shown that standard measures of the Dark Triad fall in the high dominance and low nurtur. it is BC that should be most subscales are capturing each measure in a balanced way. Accordingly.49b . and ..68). and females indicate moderate to large effect sizes.70c (.74) (α = . we Results and Discussion used the 40-item forced-choice NPI (Raskin & Hall. or eight octant measures (4 sonable internal consistencies (. NPI = Narcissistic Personality Inventory.92) . the number of factors continues to be scales. items each). In sum. All intercorrelations were significant at p < . for the traditional measures.40 (α = .01. This 32-item from . measures into their respective facets to determine if the SD3 1998). Next. Application of the appropriate tet. and the BC octant also had decent Manipulative tactics (.80. to . the values for males subscales based on fewer factors are more robust (Kubarych.. & Pamp. Interpersonal Circumplex. We closely associated with dark personalities (Markey & did the same for the subscales of the DD.68) .67) .66). As usual. 2009).87) . disattenuation had little effect on the DD correlates.72. however. SRP-III = Self-Report Psychopathy. the DD subscales showed more modest cor- sonality Item Pool—Interpersonal Circumplex (IPIP-IPC) relations with standard measures of the Dark Triad. the DD subscales are only four- measure can be broken down into measures of dominance items each.37ae . All values greater than . these correlations ranged from .01.76)   Psychopathy .77.68a (.68). Although as many as seven have been postulated. respectively). partitioned into its two major facets: manipulative tactics sures of dominance and nurturance were both reliable (αs = and cynical worldview (Christie & Geis. we appear to yield two factors (Corry. Fehr et al.56d (. Hence. 2004).47 (α = .66) . As our standard measure of narcissism.46 to .57d . ranging to assess the IPC (Markey & Markey. First.5 In octant terminology.55) Note. in parentheses.29 .78). that those subscales had rea- and nurturance (18 items each). reliability (α = .31 (α = .  Intercorrelations and Reliabilities of the Short Dark Triad Scales in Studies 2 and 3.31e NPI . SD3 DD Standard measure Machiavellianism Psychopathy Narcissism Machiavellianism Psychopathy Narcissism Mach-IV . Study 2 (N = 279) Study 3 (N = 230)   Machiavellianism Psychopathy Narcissism Machiavellianism Psychopathy Narcissism Machiavellianism (α = . the subscale αs or better with its standard counterpart. Exploitative/Entitlement and Leadership/Authority by Note from Table 5 that each SD3 subscale correlated . & Austin.

Jones and Paulhus 35 Table 6.30cd** . DD = Dirty Dozen. p = . Similarly.60c** . Finally.30a**   Antisocial Behavior .52a** . Antisocial Behavior Affect β = .35c**   Callous Affect .57a** . This octant is Correlations between the SD3 measure of psychopathy and characterized by high levels of dominance. (Manipulation β = −.16a* . tile or antagonistic octant (Horowitz et al.27a** .001. The DD psychopathy sub. Trapnell &Wiggins.24. each As expected.11b . Values within rows with different subscripts are significantly different from each other (p < . A .  Comparing the SD3 and DD With Facets of the Standard Measures in Study 3. all three members of the Dark Triad should be cor- The SD3 psychopathy subscale was also well balanced: related with the BC octant of the circumplex. p < .47ac** . 2006).e. Entitlement β = . p < .28c** .59b** . we the SD3 Machiavellianism subscale and the two Mach-IV put the remaining DD analyses online at www. Z-scores < 1.38... and the BC octant (all (i. each SD3 subscale correlates p = .41d** Note. Boldfaced values are those of most theoretical importance..42.24.33a** . Callous Affect β = . 1992).33c** .21ac** NPI facets  Exploitative/Entitlement .ca/~dpaulhus/online_material/SD3/ correlation differences).24c* .32c**  Leadership/Authority ..11.05.05). Moreover. chopathy was regressed on the four facets of the SRP.085.41). 2011b.001). the exact circumplex locations positive and significant contributions (Exploitative/ of the Dark Triad members also replicated previous research. 1998).20ac* . p < . Manipulative β = .36d** . 2012.39c** .33b** . Leadership/Authority Affect For the standard measures. psychopathy and Mach showed the β = .57b** . **p < . As can be seen in Table 6..55a** .31b** SRP facets  Manipulation . The same Dirty Dozen.49bd** . Neal & Sellbom. p < facets (see Mahmut et al.001).19).67b** .001).56b** . 2011.34a** . .11b   Machiavellian Tactics . N = 230. all three DD pattern was observed for the SD3 subscales. Regressing SD3 narcissism on the two NPI facets revealed As is clear from Table 7.44c** .32a** .17.13a** .001. and the BC octant score in a fash- .  Compared with the SD3 versions. 2012).001.psych.001).33. nurturance.001. The other two facets were negative predictors of the DD Williams et al.08d   Erratic Lifestyle .67. designed to emulate. high-dominance/low-nurturance pattern with narcissism showing high-dominance and moderate-nurturance.15ca* . p = .11ab . p < nance. NPI = Narcissistic Personality Inventory. *p < . These results suggest that the DD does not cover the strongly and comparably with all facets of the scale it was full range of psychopathy (confirming Miller et al. According to previous research were unique contributors to the model (Cynical β = .30c** . .35. Erratic Lifestyle β = −. 2008).47a** .ubc facets did not differ (based on nonsignificant Z-scores for .11. SD3 DD   Machiavellianism Psychopathy Narcissism Machiavellianism Psychopathy Narcissism Mach-IV facets   Cynical Worldview . low levels of the four facets of the SRP were all similar (i. p < ..19c* . and has sometimes been referred to as the hos- cant correlation differences using Z-tests). This corre- subscales showed weaker correlations with the facets of its spondence adds further construct validity to the SD3 sub- corresponding standard (Table 6). the SRP-III was broken into its four lation β = .63b** . When SD3 psy. each SD3 subscale correlated with domi- made a positive contribution (Manipulation β = . All tests are two-tailed.33. 2007). no significant correlation difference using Z-tests).67b** .15a** .e.52a** .50a** . Erratic Lifestyle β = ion similar to that of the standard Dark Triad members. p < and theory (Jones & Paulhus.. p < . a regression of the SD3 Mach subscale on the two Mach-IV facets showed that both Interpersonal Circumplex. nurturance.41b** . series of Z-tests confirmed that the SD3 subscale and its The SD3 narcissism subscale was also well balanced: standard counterpart had statistically comparable correla- Correlations with the two NPI facets were similar in size tions with dominance. For example. no signifi.002.001. p < . SD3 = Short Dark Triad. .62b** .38b** .01. only manipula- Exploitative/Entitlement and Leadership/Authority (Corry tion and antisocial behavior were positive predictors (Manipu- et al. Antisocial Behavior β = . 1992).25. the NPI was broken into two facets: When it was regressed on the four SRP facets.28c** . (low) nurturance. scales based on their location in personality space (Bradlee scale seemed to have only scattered coverage of the SRP: & Emmons. the correlation between Given its poor validities and its imbalanced facet coverage.

we were able to draw on previous work by (mean = . All tests are two-tailed.49a** . peers. Correlations between the self. family members. In short. requires establishing distinct informant measures and match. Nathanson (2003) found a (beta values in first set of parentheses).43a** .. In all cases.49b** ever. & Results Costa. a key advantage of informant allowed to send their ratings to the target person and (b) to reports is that they are not threatened by contamination with be as objective as possible. we used regression analy- versation back to him or herself (Entitlement). ing the personality of a set of targets (Vazire. We then controlled reasonable correspondence between the informant rating for overlap among the self-report subscales (beta values in composites and the traditional self-report measures of the the second set of parentheses). The task composite ratings were . 2006). The four the SD3 subscales and the three informant rating compos- Machiavellianism items were as follows: (a) Sees him/her. In the Informants were instructed as follows: (a) they were not case of dark personalities.  NPI .29a**  SD3-Narcissism . The higher for psychopathy because of its substantially higher three psychopathy items were (a) Is callous toward others alpha. ses to control for overlap among the informant composites In a sample of 99 students. address. SD3 = Short Dark Triad. Mechanical Turk. the reader should focus on the values in (Callousness). their ratings would not be useful socially desirable responding. Hence. the self and informant ratings validated each other: The traditional questionnaires were Machiavellianism scales able to predict social consensus and the informant ratings  Mach-IV . . Hence. In the case of dark personalities. *p < .06b . It Lifestyle). Nathanson (2003).62.38 whereas the off-diago- Scale Dominance Nurturance BC Octant nals averaged . target participants were for validating a self-report instrument (McCrae & Weiss.and correspond- the Interpersonal Circumplex.65c** . how-  SD3-Psych.and informant ratings.77.12a −. like that correlations with the informant ratings are generally shrewd lawyers and businessmen (cynical worldview). (b) Is a clever bargainer gence of corresponding self. The mean age was 20.86. From a variety of rating dimensions.35a** Method Note.1 and 60% were female. and psychopathy Bacharach. he The top half of Table 8 displays the correlations between isolated three item sets to represent the Dark Triad. informants (e. Herbst.  Projections of the SD3 and Standard Measures Onto Dark Triad. Loves the spotlight (Vanity) and (b) Keeps turning the con.71.41b** −. 2001). simultaneous validation of three respectively. As expected. They were offered extra payment if they provided the address of one acquaintance who knew them Study 4: Informant Perceptions well enough to rate their personality.01. (b) Takes risks for no good reason (Erratic parentheses.35a** were shown to capture the same individual differences as  SD3-Mach . 2008). and negative halo factor that aversive variables share (Furr & . Again. and (c) Has no respect for society’s rules then becomes clear that the SD3 convergent validities are (Antisocial Behavior). The corresponding values for the informant overlapping variables will be especially difficult. . correlations with different subscripts are A total of 65 participants completed the SD3 via Amazon’s significantly different (p < . However. otherwise.46) ing them to their corresponding self-report measures. The high diagonal values indicate substantial conver- self as a trickster (amorality). The informants Many reputable sources argue that corroboration by close included friends.05.19.05). and (c) Admires cunning people.29). A total of 65 informant ratings were received. excluded if the informant IP address matched the target’s IP 2007).42a** . N = 230.g. ing informant-ratings averaged . which are disattenuated for unreliability. NPI = Narcissistic Personality Inventory. the diagonal . Participants had to agree not to ask the informants ment between self-perceptions and social consensus regard.37a** the standard self-reports. we did not expect the SD3 associations to be as high Narcissism scales as those achieved by Nathanson (2003).80 for narcissism. . For the bottom half of Table 8. correlations among the informant subscales (mean = . Given their brevity. country of origin was restricted to Canada and the United States.42b** −. The two narcissism items were (a) the largest values in each column. When successful. ites. were higher than those among the self-report subscales Fortunately. Machiavellianism. this method variance is likely to be especially strong because of the strong Alpha reliabilities for the SD3 subscales were . **p < .02b . and romantic partners.49a** . spouses) is the most credible method To minimize double responding. Within columns.58c** −. the method demonstrates agree. Note (manipulation tactics).67.36 Assessment 21(1) Table 7.18a* −. informant judgments are typically more highly intercorrelated than are self-ratings (McCrae. about their ratings.43ab** could predict informant ratings. and . Psychopathy scales The present study evaluated whether the SD3 scales  SRP .

scales and then for overlap among the informant composites. 2013.43. *p < .31) . future research should go beyond rating measures to concrete behavior.41* .19 .59*) . 2011. ESEM. Note.46* (. formed three 9-item composites. Giammarco. In sum. use of our brief measures actually increased the mean in both concurrent and predictive validity.02 . In the correlations. Instead of . held to be superior for multifactor instru- (2003) using the traditional full scales.35* (. scales.  Validation of SD3 Subscales Against Corresponding classic constructs. MacNeil. Two other brief Using a variety of approaches. . In addition. In particular. we measures remain an option for measuring the Dark Triad. we showed that the SD3 measures are also noteworthy (Harms. In the SD3 extends well beyond cross-sectional in our research regression results. Ashton-James and Levordashka (2013) used the  Psychopathy . This report has described the creation and preliminary vali- dation of the SD3 questionnaire. respectively. highest correlations with the SD3. Atkinson. They were not Triad. To represent them. Unfortunately. Our four studies suggest that the SD3 the 12-item “Dirty Dozen” (Jonason & Webster. Boldfaced values represent informant validation of the SD3 scales.36. but not psychopaths or Machiavellians.49*) The SD3 questionnaire has already drawn support from  Machiavellianism . the informant reports than among self-reports. & Kuncel. We have already begun to study some possible behavioral outcomes (Paulhus & Jones. & Regression coefficients Vernon. we turned to the hybrid up well in comparison with those reported by Nathanson method.10/.3—substantially larger than the mean scales.38. 2009).  Narcissism . subscales provide useful proxies for the established Dark 2004. Future research on all three of the SD3.18/.28*/. the values in mimic high-status others. Limitations values are higher than the off-diagonals.Jones and Paulhus 37 Table 8.  Narcissism . Unfortunately. Baughman. SD3 = Short Dark Triad. and examined their exter. 2013. unexpected.34* (. & Holden.40* & Vernon. tion and jibes with the fact that the SD3 scales perform well Thus. For researchers with sufficient space and time. .47*) . We address this point below in the should include development of improved informant rating general discussion. the consequences of its extreme brevity have ity and respectable reliability and validity.14 (.32* example.45*/.7.57. Triad measures they were meant to replace.21 (.48*/.. .42* (. the longer measures.43*/. and .42. Future research may sup- circumplex locations and provided full coverage of the port their utility. Lee et al. and psychopa. Even after adjusting for differential alphas. After a review of the semi- Alternatives nal literature. given that we hypothesized overlap among our We were pleasantly surprised that these validities stood three constructs.. Of the three. Dearing.57* (. values are controlled for overlap among the SD3 and elsewhere. for narcissism. some cross-loadings ratings corroborated the SD3 scores for all three of the Dark appeared in our latent variable procedures. the psychopathy those rated high in psychopathy by informants scored high scale showed the highest correlations. For  Machiavellianism . Best researched is nal correlates. Other brief measures are also available.31) . Hence. the psychopathy measure showed the off-diagonal of 33.g.00/−. ments such as ours (see Asparouhov & Muthén. Baughman. the SD3 validities were . 2010).42* . Ashton-James &  Psychopathy . We confirmed the authors of these conference presentations have yet not that the three subscales fell in the theoretically appropriate followed up on these measures. Giammarco. Our mean diagonal A second limitation has to do with our informant rating correlation was 44.20) .61*) Levordashka. Of particular importance. Holtzman. For that reason. Veselka. Roberts. subjected them to a variety of analyses. Whaley.51* (. validity for two of the three constructs. General Discussion 2013). We traced part of this It should be noted that there is less differentiation among advantage to a substantially higher alpha for psychopathy. 2007). the peer Although they were inconsistent.52) . Arvan.34. the standard tion into the expected three factors. Gender differences paralleled those of Informant Reports. In short. empirical support for the parentheses are disattenuated to control for alpha differences.17 .55*) other research groups (e. 2013). Machiavellianism..01 (two-tailed tests). 2009. drawn criticism (see our introduction). achieves an optimal compromise between instrument brev. That method helped address the limita- thy. N = 65. 2011. Marsh et al.21 (.50* SD3 to demonstrate discriminant validity at the behavioral level: Narcissists. the   Narcissism Machiavellianism Psychopathy Dark Triad constructs are not just artifacts of self-report SD3 subscales Correlations variance.28*/. and .01 . and found support for their differentia. we demon- Informant reports strated external validity by showing that the SD3 scales predicted corresponding informant-ratings. 2011. we generated items.32*/.

P. Make sure your plans benefit yourself. 1216-1228. People see me as a natural leader. (2008). I’ll say anything to get what I want. use against people later. I insist on getting the respect I deserve. Rhodewalt & Morf. People who mess with me always regret it. Items should be kept in the same order. 440-450. Narcissism 1995. I like to use clever manipulation to get my way. Jones. 643-648. be useful in the future. (R) Personality. Many group activities tend to be dull without me.. 3. doi:10. 2. mimicry. 9. I have been compared to famous people. one psychopathy item was replaced with a 7. D. authorship. I feel embarrassed if someone compliments me. M. R. 7. 2008. It’s wise to keep track of information that you can (Giammarco et al. wolf wears sheep’s clothing: Individual differences in 4.” The original item “I like to pick on losers” 8. You should wait for the right time to get back at were minimal.. C. I know that I am special because everyone keeps References telling me so. overlapped with a fourth dark dimension. 4. Bradlee & Emmons. Villani. (R) and the Dark Triad personality traits: A correlational study. 3. 5. ple on your side.38 Assessment 21(1) The SD3. I like to get revenge on authorities. I like to get acquainted with important people. & Lee.. namely. not others. Arvan. Most people can be manipulated. Because gender differences in the pattern of correlations 6. narcissism is closest to neutral on nurturance (see. I enjoy having sex with people I hardly know Dark Triad traits. Even the behavior–genetic profiles are different. 2013). Lee & Ashton. three have a clear genetic component. (2011). C. Alternative interpretations of the core include Honesty- 4. 2001). P. Subsequently. It’s not wise to tell your secrets. as a short measure of narcissism. you must get the important peo- 2008). (R) ric standards while capturing the classic conceptions of the 8. (R) Foster. 2006). The subscale headings should be removed before the and space are at a premium. . K. Of the three. Neuroethics. I avoid dangerous situations. Rose. 42. People often say I’m out of control. Machiavellianism also has environmental roots (Vernon. & Rhodewalt. 2. & Anderson. 3. meets acceptable psychomet. When the 3. I hardly know. (R) Ashton-James. & Paulhus. 7. & Levordashka. 1. agreeableness (Jakobwitz & Egan. 2005). I am an average person. & Harris. The NPI-16 5. we pooled male and female respondents. It’s true that I can be mean to others. Vicker.1007/s12152-011-9140-6 Ashton. Avoid direct conflict with others because they may Humility (Ashton & Lee. Payback needs to be quick and nasty. of the following statements Funding Disagree Neither agree Agree The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support strongly Disagree nor disagree Agree strongly for the research. sistent with an extended agency interpretation (Campbell & 2. M. Appendix The Short Dark Triad (SD3) Declaration of Conflicting Interests The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect Instructions: Please indicate how much you agree with each to the research. Machiavellianism Notes 1. and/or publication of this article: The authors received financial support for this research from the Social 1 2 3 4 5 Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. people. Ruiz. Reversals are indicated with (R). Ames. and/or publication of this article. authorship. Bad news for conservatives: Moral judgments 8.. 1.. C. 2007). Journal of Research in Personality. (2006). 2013). 1992. 6. There are things you should hide from other people comparably performing item “I enjoy having sex with people to preserve your reputation. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Whatever it takes. I hate being the center of attention. Although all 2. The prediction of Honesty- Humility-related criteria by the HEXACO and Five-Factor Psychopathy models of personality. SD3 is administered. the desire to be liked influence nonconscious behavioral 5. That finding is con- 1. its brevity will permit 9. and deceptiveness 5. we have argued. 4. At the same time. see also. A. I have never gotten into trouble with the law. Smith. 9. 4. 40. sadistic personality (Buckels. Journal of Research in 6. researchers to pursue Dark Triad research even when time Note. E. (2013).

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