Night owls may be more nefarious than their early-bird counterparts, according to a small new study.
In the study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers from Liverpool Hope University and the University of Western Sydney found that people with a night-time predisposition were more likely to have traits of the "Dark Triad." The Dark Triad is a group of characteristics that includes narcissism, Machiavellianism (indicative of being manipulative) and psychopathy.
The study included 263 college students, 74 of whom were males, who answered questions online about their morning/evening preferences. They also answered questions to determine their narcissistic, psychopathic and Machiavellianistic tendencies.
Researchers found a correlation between having these traits and being inclined to be an evening person. However, there was no association found between the sex of the participants and likelihood of possessing the traits and having an evening preference.
The Telegraph reported that one potential evolutionary reason could be that the darkness of night may have helped to mask the stealing of female animals away from male animals.
"It could be adaptively effective for anyone pursuing a fast life strategy like that embodied in the Dark Triad to occupy and exploit a lowlight environment where others are sleeping and have diminished cognitive functioning," the study researcher, Dr. Peter Jonason, of the University of Western Sydney, told The Telegraph.
However, NBC News pointed out some weaknesses to the study, including the fact that the sleep habits of college students are usually very different from other members of society, and that other factors could play into why a person needs to adapt an "evening" preference (such as working the night shift).
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