The Dark Triad and Faking Ability on Self-Report Personality Inventories and Autobiographical Accounts
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Three studies were undertaken to examine the relationship between the Dark Triad (i.e., psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) and faking ability. Study 1 examined the relationship between psychopathy and the ability to fake good and fake bad on self-report personality inventories in a sample of 84 male federal offenders. Results showed that when faking good, successful fakers scored significantly higher than unsuccessful fakers on carefree nonplanfulness, and significantly lower on stress immunity. When faking bad, successful and unsuccessful fakers did not differ significantly on psychopathy total or subscale scores. Study 2 examined the effect of the Dark Triad on the ability to fake good and fake bad on self-report personality inventories in a sample of 166 undergraduates. Results indicated that when faking good, total psychopathy significantly predicted successful faking for 1 of 3 methods of evaluation, while Machiavellianism significantly predicted success at faking good for 2 of 3 methods of evaluation. Narcissism was unrelated to success at faking good. In addition, the Dark Triad constructs did not predict success at faking bad. Study 3 examined the relationship between the Dark Triad constructs and the ability to fake good interpersonally. In this study, 32 undergraduates comprising four groups (i.e., controls, and individuals high in psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) provided videotaped self-presentations. A separate group of 134 university students subsequently rated the veracity of these presentations. Results indicated that when faking good, psychopathy and narcissism groups were rated as more believable than the control group. Conversely, the Machiavellianism group was less successful at faking good than the control group. Contributions of this research to the fields of personality assessment and self-presentation are discussed.