Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Machiavellianism: Machiavellianism in psychology is a personality trait characterized by manipulation, deception, and exploitation of others for personal gain. It is part of the "Dark Triad", along with narcissism and psychopathy. Individuals high in Machiavellianism tend to have a cynical disregard for morality, focus on self-interest, and are skilled in influencing and controlling others. See also Dark triad traits, Personality traits, Psychopathy, Narcissism, Morality.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Kevin M. Williams on Machiavellianism - Dictionary of Arguments

Corr II 248
Machiavellianism/Dark Triad Traits/Personality Traits/Paulhus/Williams/Zeigler-Hill/Marcus: In contrast to narcissism and psychopathy, which have their origins in the clinical literature, Machiavellianism is exclusively a non-clinical construct that takes its name from Niccolò Machiavelli, whose 16th-century book “The Prince” described the sort of manipulative and calculating interpersonal strategies that he thought were necessary for individuals to be able to seize or maintain power.
Cf. >N. Machiavelli
, >Manipulation, >Power.
Christie and Geis (1970)(1) introduced the construct of Machiavellianism to the psychological literature. Machiavellianism is characterized by a selfish orientation, the strategic manipulation of others and a cynical view of human nature.
>Egoism, >Egocentrism.
II 249
The most common instrument for capturing Machiavellianism is the MACH-W (Christie & Geis, 1970)(1). This self-report scale consists of items that concern various aspects of interpersonal manipulation. As with narcissism and psychopathy, it may be problematic to rely on self-report instruments when attempting to capture Machiavellianism because individuals with high levels of Machiavellianism may be reluctant to provide honest assessments of their own personality traits. One alternative may be the development of an instrument that could be completed by individuals who are familiar with the target (e.g., friends, romantic partners, family members, co-workers). However, this approach would have its own set of limitations (e.g., limited insight into the motivations (…)).
>Personality/Traits, >Dark Triad.

1. Christie, R., & Geis, F. (1970). Studies in Machiavellianism. New York: Academic Press.

Zeigler-Hill, Virgil; Marcus, David K.: “The Dark Side of Personality Revisiting Paulhus and Williams (2002)”, In: Philip J. Corr (Ed.) 2018. Personality and Individual Differences. Revisiting the classical studies. Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne: Sage, pp. 245-262.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

WilliamsB I
Bernard Williams
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy London 2011

WilliamsM I
Michael Williams
Problems of Knowledge: A Critical Introduction to Epistemology Oxford 2001

WilliamsM II
Michael Williams
"Do We (Epistemologists) Need A Theory of Truth?", Philosophical Topics, 14 (1986) pp. 223-42
Theories of Truth, Paul Horwich, Aldershot 1994

Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018

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