Mimicking Desirable Intimate Partners: Adaptationism Applied to an Evolutionary Hypothesis of Psychopathy

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Brazil, Kristopher John




Evolutionary and disorder perspectives of psychopathy are examined by testing for a proposed function. Reviewing literature on female mate preference, psychopathic deception and sexuality, and extreme phenotypic expression in males, a proposed function is formalised and tested—the sexual exploitation hypothesis—against two competing hypotheses. Two studies were conducted. Study 1 had male students assessed on psychopathy tell deceptive stories involving emotion and engage in a dating scenario while being video recorded. Study 2 had male and female students assess the deceptive videos on genuineness and trustworthiness. Female students also gave ratings of desirability after watching dating videos and provided voicemail messages to assess voice pitch. Supporting the proposed function, psychopathy showed differential effects on ratings of females compared to males as well as within females. Desirability was also related to psychopathy. The combined studies provide support for the proposed function of psychopathy underlying the sexual exploitation hypothesis.


Psychology - Personality
Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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