Study: Women dislike men with ‘Dark Triad’ facial features — even when they’re drunk

Alcohol consumption does not make women view men with dark personalities as more attractive, according to psychology research published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The new study examined the so-called “Dark Triad” personality traits — narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

“We have conducted a range of studies focusing on Dark Triad traits. In particular, we have investigated the extent to which Dark Triad traits influence sexual and romantic relationships and the attractiveness of those with high or low levels of these traits,” said study author Gayle Brewer of the University of Liverpool.

Previous research has found evidence that the Dark Triad traits are associated with particular facial features. These facial features tend to be rated as less attractive — yet people with dark personalities tend to report having a high number of sexual partners.

Brewer and her colleagues were interested in seeing if alcohol could be a factor.

In their study, 96 women (ages 18–26 years) drank either water, lemonade with vodka, or a placebo drink before being shown photographs of male faces. The faces were manipulated to indicate the men had either high or low levels of Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism.

The researchers found that participants were less likely to rate faces with high levels of Dark Triad traits as attractive short-term partners. The women also rated such faces as more dangerous.

But alcohol consumption had no influence the ratings of potential partners.

“Our findings suggest that women are not attracted to male faces high on Dark Triad traits (even after consuming alcohol) and indeed perceive these men to be more dangerous than low Dark Triad faces,” Brewer explained to PsyPost.

“Our research was limited to the perception of static facial photographs and future research may consider the influence of alcohol of behavioural descriptions of men high on Dark Triad traits.”

The study, “A drunk heart speaks a sober mind: Alcohol does not influence the selection of short-term partners with dark triad traits“, was co-authored by Paul Christiansen, Diana Dorozkinaite, Beth Ingleby, Lauren O’Hagan, Charlotte Williams, and Minna Lyons.