Bashful Behaviours: The Association Between Perceived Vulnerability and the Dark Tetrad Personality Traits

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Stewart, Jayme Dawson




The current study sought to examine how nonverbal cues relate to self-perceptions of vulnerability (Study 1) as well as how personality constructs, like the Dark Tetrad (i.e., Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, sadism), influence the detection and assessment of vulnerability within others (Study 2). Results from Study 1 suggest that women lacking in assertiveness are more likely to perceive themselves as vulnerable and engage in specific nonverbal behaviours (e.g., self-touch), while Study 2 indicates that although the dark traits do not appear to have an enhanced ability to detect self-perceived vulnerability in others, they are more likely to rely on intuition or non-behavioural cues (e.g., physical appearance) when assessing vulnerability. Alternatively, those high in honesty-humility personality traits were more likely to utilize behavioural cues including facial expressions, emotional appearance, and posture. Taken together, this research suggests that personality traits and nonverbal behaviours are relevant and important indicators of vulnerability.


Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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