'I know something you don't know!': an investigation into the relationships between the Dark Triad of Personality, Over-Claiming and study choice in undergraduates in Scotland

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The primary objective of this research was to investigate the relationship between the Dark Triad of Personality, Self-Enhancement and course choice in those studying undergraduate courses in Scotland. It was hypothesised firstly that business-based students would be more likely to possess the dark triad than creative course students, and secondly that business-based students would also be higher in their tendency to over-claim than those studying creative courses. Finally, it was hypothesised that those high in narcissism would also be higher in Over-Claiming, based on previous research. A quantitative research method was adopted using multiple choice questionnaires to measure participants on Narcissism (NPI; Raskin & Hall, 1979), Machiavellianism (Mach-IV; Christie & Geis, 1970), Sub-Clinical Psychopathy (LSRP; Levenson et al, 1995) and Self-Enhancement (OCQ-150; Paulhus & Bruce, 1990). This research consists of 257 students (69% female) currently studying undergraduate courses in Scotland (59.4% business-driven courses; 40.6% creative courses). Participant age ranged from 17-55 (average age: 25). Preliminary analysis has found that business students have scored significantly higher on all of the Dark Triad personality constructs. However, no correlation has been found between business-based students and self-enhancement. There was also a strong correlation between OCQ Bias and narcissism, as expected. Preliminary analysis suggests that H1 and H3 will be accepted and H2 will be rejected. This indicates that those who choose to study business-based courses, rather than creative courses, are more likely to be Machiavellian, narcissistic and sub-clinically psychopathic. This may have severe implications for the business world. Limitations of this study include the OCQ-150 being completed online and not under the supervision of the researcher. Also, as the questionnaires were self-report, participants may have responded in a socially desirable manner. Despite these limitations, this research provides a good insight into the relationship between the Dark Triad and business-driven individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 BPS Scotland Undergraduate Student Conference - Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Mar 201010 Mar 2010


Conference2010 BPS Scotland Undergraduate Student Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address



  • Dark Triad
  • Psychopathy
  • Narcissism
  • Machiavellianism
  • Vocational Choice
  • Personality

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