The Dark Tetrad and aesthetic preferences: The role of the dark side of personality in the aesthetic preference for paintings


  • Lana Tucaković Odeljenje za psihologiju, Filozofski fakultet, Univerzitet u Beogradu
  • Slobodan Marković Laboratory of Experimental Psychology and Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade



dark personality traits, Dark Tetrad, aesthetic preferences, narcissism, psychopathy


The role of so-called normal and dark personality traits in everyday preferences, interests, and choices is visible in different domains of life. However, a small number of studies have dealt with individual differences in dark personality traits and aesthetic preferences. The domain of dark personality traits is in recent studies generally conceptualized as the Dark Tetrad — comprised of Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism. Thus, the aim of this research was to examine the relationship between the Dark Tetrad and visual aesthetic preferences. The sample consisted of 170 participants (Mage = 29.09, SDage = 10.66; 77.1 % females). Participants completed the Short Dark Triad and the Varieties of Sadistic Tendencies questionnaires, and also rated their familiarity and preference for 15 paintings with five different types of motives (religious, abstract, oriental, violence, and landscape). It was shown, based on looking at zero-order correlations that only narcissism positively correlates with the preference for paintings with violent motives. Also, a series of regression analyses were performed, which showed that the only significant regression model is the one that reflects the role of reduced psychopathy in the preference for religious motives. The first finding can be explained on the basis of stable findings on the relationship between narcissism and aggression, and also narcissism and violence. The second finding can be interpreted in the context that general religiosity has previously been shown to be negatively associated with psychopathy. It can be concluded that dark personality traits are one of the factors that affect aesthetic preferences.


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How to Cite

Tucaković, L., & Marković, S. (2021). The Dark Tetrad and aesthetic preferences: The role of the dark side of personality in the aesthetic preference for paintings. Primenjena Psihologija, 14(4), 443–463.

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