Self-reported creative ability and the Dark Triad traits: an exploratory study

Peter K. Jonason*, Emma N. Richardson, Leith Potter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Attention has recently been drawn to the dark side of creativity. We provided an exploratory study (N = 226) of how the Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) correlated with two measures of creativity (i.e., Kaufman Domains of Creativity Scale and Creative Achievement Questionnaire). Those high in narcissism reported being more creative than most people, an association that may reflect narcissistic self-delusions of popularity and charm. We found self-reported success in humor was correlated with narcissism and psychopathy scores. Those high in psychopathy also reported better mechanical and lower scholarly skills than most, which may relate to their vocational interest in practical/realistic work. Machiavellianism accounted for little variance in creativity. Individual differences in the Dark Triad traits mediated sex differences in various aspects of creativity, suggesting sex differences in some aspects of creativity may be partially confounded by sex differences in the Dark Triad traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-494
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Dark Triad
  • personality
  • creativity
  • sex differences


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