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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The influence of the Dark Triad and communication medium on deceptive outcomes Crossley, Lisa Nicole


The present study examined the influence of dark personality traits (i.e., psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism) and communication condition (i.e., face-to-face [FtF] or computer-mediated communication [CMC]) on success in a persuasive deception task. Dark personality traits commonly have been associated with manipulative behaviour in a variety of FtF contexts (e.g., workplace interactions, interpersonal relationships). However, less is known about whether dark personality traits function in the same manner online. Research on negotiation has found that individuals high in Dark Triad traits tend to perform better FtF than through CMC, and that they are outperformed by individuals lacking in dark personality traits in the context of online negotiations (Crossley, Woodworth, Black, & Hare, 2016). The current study utilized a decision-making task in which participants (N = 204) worked in dyads. One participant was randomly assigned as the deceiver and was instructed to attempt to persuade their opponent in order to increase their own chances of winning a $500 raffle. Participants consisted of both psychology and business students. Previous research has found that business students have heightened levels of dark personality traits (e.g., Hassall, Boduszek, & Dhingra, 2015). Further, the language from both the FtF and CMC dyads were recorded and analyzed to assess for differences. Results indicated that certain dark personality traits (i.e., psychopathy and narcissism) were associated with decreased deceptive success in the online context, but only for those individuals who scored the highest on the traits (i.e., typically business students). Additional results emerged in relation to language, indicating that psychopathy and Machiavellianism are related to a more guarded style of discourse.

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