The study in the Journal of Personality was led by Dr Ashley Watts from the psychology department of Emory University in Atlanta.
She says the findings revealed that despite the predatory tendencies of psychopaths – they tended to prefer their own types.
‘This idea that psychopathic individuals pursue in essentially a predatory way – especially women that are that are maybe naïve or a little co-dependent and that psychopathic men engage in predatory tactics.
For the most part the data that exists supports the opposite – that psychopathic individuals tend to date or be in relationships or marry people that are similar to them – meaning they tend to flock together with psychopathic individuals’.
The research drew on two samples: the first were female undergraduates at Emory University – Atlanta Georgia and the second a sample of online participants from the general community.
Psychopathy is a highly multi-dimensional construct – Dr Watts says.
‘It’s not as simple as are you psychopath or not a psychopath?
To be high in psychopathy you have to have high levels of multiple traits’.
The three main ones are boldness – disinhibition and meanness – she says.
‘Boldness is how interpersonally effective – how charming and persuasive you are – disinhibition which is really how lacking in impulse control you are and the third is meanness – how callous – cruel and manipulative you are’.