Intrasexual competition supports the acquisition of new mates and the maintenance of existing relationships. We investigated intrasexual competition in relation to Dark Triad traits (narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) and intensity of Facebook use. Men (n = 61) and women (n = 164) completed measures assessing intrasexual competition (Buunk & Fisher, 2009), Dark Triad traits (Jones & Paulhus, 2014), and intensity of Facebook use (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). Machiavellianism and psychopathy were positive predictors for endorsement of intrasexual competition. Narcissism and Facebook intensity did not predict intrasexual competition. Findings are discussed in relation to personality and mate competition.
Intrasexual competition is a common sexual strategy, which functions to increase access to new partners and supports the maintenance of existing relationships. In humans, there is considerable within-sex variation in how competitive individuals are and the way in which people engage in competition. For example, gossip through social networks (Davis, Dufort, Desrochers, Vaillancourt, & Arnocky, 2017), or in online social media (Hendrickse, Arpan, Clayton, & Ridgway, 2017) are strategies that can be useful in intrasexual competition. Personality is another one important factor associated with competitive behaviour (Buunk, Bucksath, & Cordero, 2017; Goncalves & Campbell, 2014). In this brief report, we investigated intrasexual competition in relation to the Dark Triad personality traits (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) and intensity of Facebook use. The Dark Triad (Paulhus & Williams, 2002) is a widely researched personality constellation. The traits share a common core of manipulation and callousness (Jones & Figueredo, 2013) and influence a range of relationship types (Lyons, 2019). In particular, individuals at the higher end of the continuum have increased motivations for sexual partners (Lee et al., 2013), which appear to impact intrasexual competition (Carter, Montanaro, Linney, & Campbell, 2015). Each trait has been associated with a unique style of same-sex competition. For example, psychopathy is related to the use of deception (e.g., trying to impress a same-sex competitor by greeting an attractive member of the opposite sex; Jonason, Lyons, Baughman, & Vernon, 2014), as well as employing gossiping tactics that are aimed at damaging the reputation of the rival (Goncalves & Campbell, 2014). Narcissism has been connected to trying to outshine a competitor, and Machiavellianism to rude derogation of the competitor (Goncalves & Campbell, 2014). It is possible that social networking sites such as Facebook are also used as a forum for intrasexual competition (Wyckoff, Buss, & Markman, 2018). Social comparison and self-promotion are important features of social networking sites, especially amongst those who are younger or more intense users of these sites (Lee, 2014; Ozimek & Bierhoff, 2016). Aggressive behaviour such as cyberbullying and relational aggression are also commonplace online (Abell & Brewer, 2014; Slonje & Smith, 2008). Previous research demonstrates that relationship status influences men's behaviour on such sites (McAndrew & Jeong, 2012), and attractiveness appears to influence the responses of other users (Wang, Moon, Kwon, Evans, & Stefanone, 2010). It is therefore possible that exposure to online promotion, comparison, and aggression encourages intrasexual competition. It is also plausible that those with an elevated drive for competition spend more time using these sites. Previous research has established sex differences in the intensity of Facebook use, indicating that women use it more than men do (Mcandrew & Jeong, 2012). Yet, it is not clear whether the sexes use social media differently as a tool in intrasexual competition, which is something that we will explore in this research. Furthermore, men tend to score higher than women on the Dark Triad instruments (Paulhus & Williams, 2002). However, rather than the sex of the individual, it is possible that the Dark Triad traits are more influential in intrasexual competition (Jonason et al., 2014). Therefore, we predict that irrespective of the sex of the participant, those high in the Dark Triad traits display greater levels of intrasexual competition.