Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name





Dr. Noam Shpancer

First Committee Member

Dr. Noam Shpancer

Second Committee Member

Dr. Leesa J. Kern

Third Committee Member

Prof. G. Louisa Captein


dark triad, psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, infidelity, religiosity/spirituality

Subject Categories

Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology | Social Psychology


Personality is a major determinant of behavior. The Dark Triad is a cluster of personality traits-- psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism-- commonly associated with callousness, manipulation, and anti-social behavior. In the realm of relationships, Dark Triad traits have been shown to predict a host of destabilizing behaviors, including infidelity. Infidelity has negative psychological impacts on those involved, with research citing infidelity as a precursor to major depressive episodes for some individuals. High levels of religiosity, on the other hand, predict negative attitudes toward infidelity and fewer instances of cheating overall. The present study investigated whether levels of religiosity moderate infidelity intentions and behaviors in Dark Triad women. An online survey was distributed through varying social groups at different Midwestern universities, collecting data pertaining to participants’ demographics, sociosexuality, infidelity attitudes and behaviors, religiosity, and the Dark Triad traits. Quantitative analysis revealed no significant correlations between Dark Triad personality and infidelity. Dark Triad personality was significantly and positively correlated with sociosexuality, but infidelity did not correlate significantly with sociosexuality. In the absence of the expected link between Dark Triad and infidelity, the moderation question was rendered moot. Results from qualitative analysis suggest a difference in reasoning between those participants who did and did not commit infidelity. Participants who have not cheated provided mostly intrinsic reasons such as love, faith, and trust, while participants who have cheated provided extrinsic reasons such as revenge to explain their behavior

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use

Acknowledgement 1


Acknowledgement 2