What do people find alluring about psychopaths? An exploration into the predictive value of psychopathic status, sex and theory of mind capabilities on mate preference.
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It has been suggested that people tend to avoid the pitfalls of romantic involvement with either a psychopathic partner, however, despite their manipulative reputation, research proposes that psychopathic individuals are attractive for short-term relationships. Furthermore, individuals with psychopathic traits have been found to adopt an assortative mating approach where they find others with psychopathic traits attractive for short and long-term mating. It is thought that this could be due to an inability to detect conflicting emotions and a lack of emotional intelligence, which is a commonly acknowledged characteristic in primary psychopathic individuals. While research has explored the assortative mating preferences of primary and secondary psychopathic individuals and their theory of mind capabilities as separate areas of research, this is the first to explore the allure and success of psychopathic traits in the mating domain with a particular interest in emotional intelligence as a possible predictor of this. The current study (N=179) has been adapted from Blanchard, Lyons & Centifanti’s (2016) research and aimed to explore the predictive value of individuals primary and secondary psychopathic status, theory of mind capabilities and sex on their mate preferences. Using a series of multiple regressions, it was found that although surprising assortative mating trends were produced (evident in males, not females), psychopathic profiles were still rated as highly attractive for short-term relationships. It is deemed as important to consider the raters’ sex and theory of mind capabilities when researching psychopathic mate preference as these factors were found to be strong predictors of this. Psychopathic status, however, was not found to have as much of an effect as it was predicted.
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