People with a predilection for late nights are more likely to have characteristics of the “Dark Triad”—narcissism, Machiavellianism (meaning manipulative by nature) and psychopathy, according to a new study by researchers from Liverpool Hope University and the University of Western Sydney, recently published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Psychology Today breaks down the Dark Triad:
The technical definition of the Dark Triad, as stated in Jonason and Webster’s article, is rather daunting: “the Dark Triad as a whole can be thought of as a short-term, agentic, exploitative social strategy...” (p. 420). This means, in simpler terms, that people who show these qualities are trying to get away with acting out against others in order to achieve their own ends. Each of the individual qualities alone can make life difficult for those who know people like this. Combined, the Dark Triad traits in another person close to you can be detrimental to your mental health.
The three personality traits are a dangerous mix, but the individual qualities are not equal evils. As Psychology Today explains:
Of the three, narcissism was judged to be the “brightest.” People who are high on psychopathy and Machiavellianism can cause you harm but many narcissists only harm themselves.
The study included 263 college students (74 were males). Each answered questions online about their morning/evening preferences, as well as questions to determine their narcissistic, psychopathic and Machiavellianistic tendencies.
Researchers discovered a correlation between possessing the Dark Triad and preferring to stay awake during the night hours.
Dr. Peter Jonason, of the University of Western Sydney offers one theory:
“It could be adaptively effective for anyone pursuing a fast life strategy like that embodied in the Dark Triad to occupy and exploit a lowlight environment where others are sleeping and have diminished cognitive functioning," Dr. Jonason told The Telegraph.