We conducted a meta-analytic review of the relations between general mental ability (GMA) and the Dark Triad (DT) personality traits—Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy—to determine if individuals who display socially exploitative social qualities tend to be more intelligent or less intelligent. Across 48 independent samples, GMA showed no consistent relation with any DT trait. These effects were not sufficient to support either the “evil genius” hypothesis (highly intelligent individuals tend to display socially exploitative personality traits) or the “compensatory” hypothesis (less intelligent individuals compensate for their cognitive disadvantages by adopting manipulative behavioral tendencies). However, these relations were moderated, to some extent, by the sex and age of the participants, type of sample studied, and the measure of GMA.

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Copyright © 2013 Elsevier. Article first published DEC 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2013.08.001.

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O’Boyle, Ernest H., Donelson Forsyth, George C. Banks, and Paul A. Story. "A Meta-analytic Review of the Dark Triad–intelligence Connection." Journal of Research in Personality 47, no. 6 (December 2013): 789-94. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2013.08.001.