Examining the Deviation From Balanced Time Perspective in the Dark Triad Throughout Adulthood

Front Psychol. 2018 Jun 26;9:1046. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01046. eCollection 2018.


Individuals who score high on Dark Triad (DT) personality traits (i.e., Machiavellianism, subclinical narcissism and subclinical psychopathy) have been found to prefer a fast life strategy with enhanced motivation for immediate resource acquisition and short-term benefits. In line with these points, recent studies have found evidence showing that DT traits are associated with a biased, strongly present-oriented time perspective. In the current study, we aimed to examine whether the temporal attitude of individuals high in DT is deviant from a balanced time perspective (BTP) to a significant extent. To achieve this aim, we applied two operationalizations published in earlier studies to quantify BTP: the Deviation from Balanced Time Perspective coefficient (DBTP), calculated as the difference between individuals' time perception and the optimal time perspective, as well as the person-oriented approach of identifying groups of individuals with similar time perception. Importantly, the age of participants (N = 346) covered a long and continuous period of adulthood-from the young adulthood to the elderly-in order to examine the moderating effect of age on the association of DT and BTP. Machiavellianism and psychopathy were both found to be clearly deviant from a BTP. In contrast, higher scores on narcissism were positively associated with a BTP profile. The DBTP analysis, however, suggested that this beneficial effect of narcissism was only prevalent among the elderly individuals.

Keywords: Dark Triad; adaptation; adulthood; balanced time perspective; life history.