The dark triad personality traits are three closely related yet independent personality traits that all have a somewhat malevolent connotation. The three traits are machiavellianism (a manipulative attitude), narcissism (excessive self-love), and psychopathy (lack of empathy). The dark triad has traditionally been assessed with three tests different tests, each of which had been developed individually. Most commonly, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) was used as the measure of narcissism, the MACH-IV for machiavellianism and the Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (SRP) for psychopathy. Format differences between these (multiple choice versus scale rating) complicated administration and analysis. The Short Dark Triad was developed in 2011 by Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones to provide a more uniform assessment and also to trim down the total length.


The test consists of twenty seven statements that must be rated on how much you agree with them. The test should not take most people more than five minutes.


Your use of this assessment must be strictly for educational purposes. It can not be taken as psychological advice of any kind. If you are interested in anything more than learning about the dark triad of personality and how it is assessed, do not take this test. Your answers will be recorded and possibly used for research and/or otherwise distributed in an anonymous fashion.

Question 1 of 27


Machiavellianism is the trait of being cynical (in an amoral self-interest sense, not in a doubtful or skeptical sense), unprincipled, and belief in interpersonal manipulation as the key for life success; people who score high behave accordingly. Scores on measures of Machiavellianism correlate negatively with agreeableness (r= -.47) and conscientiousness (r=-.34). Machiavellianism is also significantly correlated with psychopathy.

Narcissism is the personality trait of displaying grandiosity, entitlement, dominance, and superiority. Narcissism has been found to correlate positively with extraversion (r = .42) and openness (r = .38) and negatively with agreeableness (r = -.36). Narcissism has also been found to have a significant correlation with psychopathy.

Psychopathy is considered the most malevolent of the dark triad. Individuals who score high on psychopathy show low levels of empathy combined with high levels of impulsivity and thrill-seeking. The similarity between psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder have been noted by some researchers. Psychopathy has been found to correlate with all of the Big Five personality factors: extraversion (r = .34), agreeableness (r = -.25), conscientiousness (r = -.24), neuroticism (r = -.34) and openness (r = .24).