Does psychopathy predict desirability in speed dating situations? A social relations analysis

Kathleen Tucker Payne

Abstract

Psychopathy is a multifaceted construct that can lead to a number of consequences including many that could interfere with interpersonal relations and romantic attractions. The speed-dating paradigm allows researchers to study various aspects of interpersonal relations. The present study examined how the two-factor structure of psychopathy, as measured by the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI; Lilienfeld & Andrews, 1996), may influence evaluations of initial romantic attraction during speed-dating events. Factor I, or "fearless dominance," is characterized by the affective and interpersonal aspects of psychopathy, whereas factor II on the PPI represents "impulsive antisociality" and is characterized by the more antisocial features of psychopathy. Kenny's (1994) social relations model was used to study the relation between initial romantic attraction and perceived psychopathic traits in a sample of 129 college students. As hypothesized, there was significant consensus and assimilation, indicating that ratings were partly due to the rater and partly due to the individual being rated. It was also hypothesized that participants' PPI scores would be related to how they were rated as well as to how they rated their dates. Men higher on factor II of the PPI generally had a negative impression of the women they met, whereas women's PPI scores were unrelated to their perceiver effects. Additionally, individuals who were seen as attractive tended to see their dates as lower on variables typically valued in social interactions. There was a tendency for women who scored high on PPI-I to be seen as selfish, whereas men who scored high on PPI-I tended to be seen as attractive. Women saw men high on PPI-II as less confident and having low self-esteem, low narcissistic traits, and high sincerity. As expected, attractiveness played a significant role in ratings of desirability. The present study provides limited evidence that psychopathy has interpersonal consequences, and also evidence that the speed dating paradigm is effective for examining the process of initial romantic attraction.