Helpful or not? Appraisal and mechanisms of prosociality in the dark triad

Puthillam, Arathy, Mehta, Nikita, Kapoor, Hansika, Rezaei, Sarah and Lamba, Nishtha ORCID logoORCID: (2022) Helpful or not? Appraisal and mechanisms of prosociality in the dark triad. [Other] (doi:10.31234/


The Dark Triad (DT) is associated with maladaptive interactions in their social and interpersonal relationships as well as defection in social situations. However, it is unclear how DT traits perceive helpfulness. We conducted a two part study to understand whether individuals high on DT traits are able to perceive help from others. DT traits were measured using the Short Dark Triad scale. In Study 1, vignettes were presented to the participants (N = 679) to assess perception of help which depicted situations that differentially benefitted them. Findings revealed that situations wherein others were objectively unhelpful, those with high levels of psychopathy and Machiavellianism uniquely perceive others as helpful and when others are objectively helpful, those with high psychopathy perceive others as less helpful. Study 2 explored the perception of helpfulness and defection through an ultimatum game at different levels of helpfulness (high- and low- help condition). Data from 1059 participants showed that individuals with high scores on psychopathy are less likely to recognize others' helpfulness towards them. High scores on narcissism predicted a greater likelihood of accepting a high help offer. Machiavellianism did not predict perception of help and defection in either of the conditions. Limitations and future scope are discussed.

Item Type: Other
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 35865
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Depositing User: Nishtha Lamba
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2022 14:29
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2022 14:24

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