Differentiating Dark Triad Traits Within and Across Interpersonal Circumplex Surfaces

Open Access
Dowgwillo, Emily Ann
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 27, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Thesis Advisor
  • Interpersonal Circumplex
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Dark Triad
Interpersonal theory provides an explicit and conceptually driven framework for integrating information from a number of disciplines. The interpersonal circumplex (IPC) serves as the foundation for research based on interpersonal theory, describing interpersonal functioning in terms of dominance and affiliation. Until recently, research using the IPC was primarily descriptive in nature. A recently developed bootstrapping methodology that computes confidence intervals around circumplex structural summary parameters associated with the IPC allows researchers to statistically test differences in these parameters for the first time. This study uses the Dark Triad of personality traits to explore potential applications of this methodology. Confidence intervals were used to examine the construct validity of the SD3 scales and 4 measures of psychopathy. Evidence for the discriminant validity of the SD3 scales and convergent validity of the psychopathy scales is discussed. Additionally confidence intervals were used to examine group differences in structural summary parameters, finding that despite mean level differences in Dark Triad traits, the associated structural summary parameters were similar for men and women. Finally, information across IPC surfaces can be integrated to provide profiles associated with Dark Triad traits and more general portraits of their interpersonal dynamics. These findings suggest that the use of this novel bootstrapping methodology is a valuable addition to personality assessment that should be integrated into future work using the IPC.