Machiavellianism: 7 Examples Of This Personality Trait

Machiavellianism is named for a 15th century Italian diplomat famous for manipulating people to get what he wanted.

Machiavellian personality traits are named for a 15th century Italian diplomat famous for manipulating people to get what he wanted.

Machiavellianism is a personality trait that, unlike psychopathy and narcissism, is little known.

People with ‘Machiavellian’ traits are unemotional and regularly deceive and manipulate others.

People with Machiavellian traits tend to agree with statements like these:

  1. “It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there.”
  2. “Never tell anyone the real reason you did something unless it is useful to do so.”
  3. “It is safest to assume that all people have a vicious streak and it will come out when they are given a chance.”
  4. “It is wise to flatter important people.”

Common signs and examples of Machiavellianism

Seven common signs and examples of a Machiavellian personality are:

  1. Competing with others rather than cooperating.
  2. Manipulating others in order to reach their goals.
  3. Luring others into wild behaviour to further their own ends.
  4. Making plans for personal benefit with no consideration of their effect on other people.
  5. Promoting their own interests.
  6. Minimising or controlling other people’s power of influence.
  7. Failing to share critical information with others, if it suits their interests.

Whether in the home or the office, Machiavellians display all these sorts of devious behaviours and more, but do it as subtly as possible.

Machiavellians, though, are not obsessed with being the centre of attention, though, like some other dark personalities.

Professor Birgit Schyns, a psychologist and expert on organisational behaviour, along with colleagues, writes:

“Machiavellians are sly, deceptive, distrusting, and manipulative.

They are characterized by cynical and misanthropic beliefs, callousness, a striving for … money, power, and status, and the use of cunning influence tactics.

In contrast to narcissists, Machiavellians do not necessarily have to be the center of attention and are satisfied with the role of puppeteer, unobtrusively pulling the strings.” (Schyns et al., 2019)

Unsurprisingly, Machiavellianism is a personality trait linked to infidelity, along with the other dark triad traits of narcissism and psychopathy.

People high on any of these traits are more likely to cheat.

Unfortunately, then, Machiavellian traits are sometimes attractive — at least a dark and brooding appearance that suggests Machiavellianism is more attractive to some women, one study finds.

What is Machiavellianism? Traits and examples

Those with Machiavellian traits — named for a 15th century Italian diplomat — are very good at getting others to do what they want by using lying and flattery, as needed.

Their motto, if they had one, would be: “The ends justify the means.”

In other words, do whatever you have to in order to get what you want.

They understand what motivates other people and display cold selfishness in getting it from them.

Despite this, they are so good at manipulation that they are often well-liked by others who do not realise their evil intentions.

One study of popularity among teenagers found that those with a classic ‘Machiavellian’ personality are both feared and loved at the same time.

It is a great example of how Machiavellians can be aggressive when they need to be, but can quickly switch to being nice.

The Machiavellian personality is one of the so-called ‘dark triad’ of malevolent personality types.

Drs Daniel N. Jones and Delroy L. Paulhus, experts on dark personalities, explain:

“They were so named because individuals with these traits share a tendency to be callous, selfish, and malevolent in their interpersonal dealings.”

The Machiavellian personality

While most people know about psychopaths and narcissists, few have heard of Machiavellianism — perhaps that is the way they prefer it!

Machiavellian people’s personality tends to be disagreeable and undependable, which leads them to lie, cheat and betray, when it suits them.

Unlike the psychopath, the Machiavellian keeps a close eye on his or her reputation.

The Machiavellian personality type is named after a 15th century politician, Niccolò Machiavelli, Jones and Paulhus explain:

“Early in the 16th century, Niccolo Machiavelli acted as chief political advisor to the ruling Medici family in Florence, Italy.

The details of his counsel are well known because Machiavelli laid them out for posterity in his 1513 book, The Prince.

The gist of his advice for maintaining political control is captured in the phrase “the end justifies the means.”

According to Machiavelli, a ruler with a clear agenda should be open to any and all effective tactics, including ‘manipulative interpersonal strategies such as flattery and lying.”

The quotes are from Jones & Paulhus (2009). Machiavellianism. Handbook of Individual Differences In Social Behavior.


What Is An Introvert? 8 Characteristics Of This Personality Trait

Introvert personality traits have many benefits including making a better psychologist, enjoying alone time, satisfying relationships and more…

Introvert personality traits mean a person may make a better psychologist, enjoy alone time, have more satisfying relationships and more…

An introvert is not necessarily shy, but is particularly interested in their own mental states.

They may seem reserved, but an introvert gains energy through reflecting internally.

As a result, an introvert tends to enjoy activities that are done alone, such as reading and writing.

Typically, an introvert is not particularly attracted to large groups and gatherings, preferring a quieter environment.

That does not necessarily make an introvert socially anxious.

Being less social is a preference, not a pathology.

What is an introvert personality?

Introversion is one of the five major traits of personality.

A person who is introverted tends to focus more inwards, concentrating on their own thoughts, feelings and moods.

As a result, they seek less stimulation from the outside world.

Like all personality traits it exists on a continuum, in this case with extroversion at the other end.

So, most people have a balance of introverted and extroverted traits — this is known as an ambivert.

However, some people are at the extreme end of the spectrum.

Strong introverts tend to be reserved, quiet and introspective.

They find too much social interaction draining and tend to gain energy from spending time alone.

Causes of introversion vs extroversion

A popular early theory of introversion and extroversion by the psychologist Hans Eysenck argued that it is down to the excitability of the brain.

Introverts, he argued, naturally have high cortical arousal levels, so need less stimulation from social interaction.

Like other personality traits, though, genetics and the environment likely interact to influence people’s levels of introversion.

Studies of twins suggest around 50 percent of introversion is inherited.

It is certainly true that people who are inhibited as children tend to grow up into reserved introverts.

Inhibition as a child involves cautious, fearful and avoidant behaviour towards unfamiliar objects, people and situations.

Types of introvert traits

Like all human being, introverts come in all sorts of different types.

It can be difficult to tell some people are introverts because the way they behave may mask it.

Another kink is that people often have a mix of introverted and extroverted traits.

One study has suggested that introverts come in four different types:

  • A social introvert: the classic introvert who prefers small groups to crowds.
  • An anxious introvert: shy people who want to interact with others, but are afraid.
  • A thinking introvert: daydreamers with creative imaginations.
  • An inhibited/restrained introvert: those who think before they act.

Common signs of an introvert personality

Some of the most commonly cited signs of introversion are:

  • Being around people drains your energy
  • Preferring a small group of close friends
  • Enjoying solitude
  • High self-awareness
  • Preferring to be quiet
  • Learning by watching
  • Stimulation leaves you distracted and unfocused

However, here are some more less well-known signs of introversion.

1. An introvert makes a better psychologist

People who are sadder and more introverted are the best natural psychologists, scoring highest on tests of human nature.

Being a good natural psychologist stems from having a more accurate view of oneself and of others.

The fact that introverted people do better on these tests is fascinating, Mr Gollwitzer, the study’s author, said:

It could be that the melancholic, introverted people are spending more time observing human nature than those who are busy interacting with others, or they are more accurate at introspection because they have fewer motivational biases.

Either way, though, this demonstrates an unappreciated strength of introverts.”

2. Introverts prefer mountains

Introverts prefer mountains’ is one of the conclusions of a series of recent studies on the link between personality and place.

People view mountainous areas as being more peaceful and calm.

Extroverts, meanwhile, tend to prefer flat, open areas.

These are viewed as more exciting, sociable and stimulating.

The study also found that introverts are, indeed, more likely to live in mountainous areas, while extroverts tend to live on the flat.

3. Introvert alone time

Introverts prefer to have more alone time.

Wanting to be alone is not necessarily a red flag for depression or isolation.

In fact, choosing solitude can be a sign of self-acceptance and personal growth.

Periods of solitude can provide spiritual renewal, critical self-reflection and even a chance for creative expression.

Wanting to be alone is not necessarily about shyness or loneliness.

Dr Virginia Thomas, an expert on personality, says both introverts and extroverts need solitude:

“Introverts just need more of it.

Our culture is pretty biased toward extroversion.

When we see any sign of shyness or introversion in children, we worry they won’t be popular.

But we overlook plenty of well-adjusted teens and young adults who are perfectly happy when alone, and who benefit from their solitude.”

4. Introverts deal better with poor sleep

Introverts are naturally better at dealing with sleep deprivation after a busy day of social interactions, research finds.

Despite being kept awake for 22 hours, introverts remained more alert than extroverts when tested the next day.

It may be because introverts generally have higher cortical arousal.

In contrast, extroverts are vulnerable to sleep loss after interacting with many people during the day.

The introvert’s ability to resist sleep loss could be down to genetic factors.

5. Introvert relationships are satisfying

Introverted women are less likely to cheat on their partner.

An introvert tends to enjoy more solitary activities, preferring to think before they talk and enjoys focusing their mental energy inwards.

In contrast, women who are highly extroverted are more likely to cheat on their partner.

Similarly, women who are introverted are satisfied with their marriages for longer.

6. Introvert musical preference

There are some links between musical preferences and personality.

Those listening more to rock, indie or alternative music tend to be more introverted.

Also, a preference for emo music reveals an emotionally unstable, introverted personality.

7. Better general knowledge

An introvert with a more stable personality is like to have higher levels of general knowledge.

General knowledge — or as psychologists call it, crystallised intelligence — is one of two broad aspects of intelligence.

General knowledge is often linked to success in life because innate talent is not enough — application matters.

8. Introversion vs. shyness

Many people make the mistake that introversion is the same as shyness.

Extroverts assume that introverts do not want to interact because they are fearful.

The truth is that many introverts do not get the same pleasure out of social interactions as extroverts, so they avoid it.

An introvert frequently chooses to stay away from others, but is not afraid to go near them.

Being less social is a preference, not a pathology.

Introversion and social anxiety

Social anxiety involves worrying about being embarrassed or humiliated in front of others.

It is more than being shy — the fear can be so great that the social situation can only be born with considerable distress.

While introverts are not necessarily socially anxious, the personality trait can put them at a higher risk in combination with other factors.

The two personality traits that mark out people with social anxiety are being introverted and emotionally unstable.

People who are emotionally unstable — also known as neuroticism — often experience higher levels of anxiety.

The combination of introversion and emotional instability is the ‘typical’ form of social anxiety disorder.


What Your Facebook Posts Say About Your Personality

How Facebook updates can reveal narcissism and low self-esteem.

How Facebook updates can reveal narcissism and low self-esteem.

People habitually posting to Facebook about exercise, diets and accomplishments are more likely to be narcissists, a study finds.

And bragging about accomplishments does tend to attract more attention from friends.

The study’s first author, Dr Tara Marshall, said:

“Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays.

Greater awareness of how one’s status updates might be perceived by friends could help people to avoid topics that annoy more than they entertain.”

The study also found that people who post updates about their current romantic partner are more likely to have low self-esteem.

People who are more conscientious tended to write more updates about their children.

Here are some other associations the study found between personality and Facebook use:

“…extraverts more frequently updated about their social activities and everyday life, which was motivated by their use of Facebook to communicate and connect with others.

People high in openness were more likely to update about intellectual topics, consistent with their use of Facebook for sharing information.”  (Marshall et al., 2015).

The conclusions come from surveys of 555 Facebook users.

Dr Marshall continued:

“It might come as little surprise that Facebook status updates reflect people’s personality traits.

However, it is important to understand why people write about certain topics on Facebook because their updates may be differentially rewarded with ‘likes’ and comments.

People who receive more likes and comments tend to experience the benefits of social inclusion, whereas those who receive none feel ostracised.

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Marshall et al., 2015).

Nasty People All Share This One Personality Trait

Psychopaths, narcissists, egoists, sadists and other nasty people all share one dark personality trait.

Psychopaths, narcissists, egoists, sadists and other nasty people all share one dark personality trait.

A ‘dark core’ personality is shared by every nasty person, research finds.

Whether they are psychopaths, narcissists, egoists, sadists or spiteful people, they all share the same tendency to put themselves before others in the worst possible way.

Nine dark personality types all turned out to have this core of callous selfishness, involving total disregard for the rights of others.

However, psychopaths, narcissist, sadists and the rest express their dark core in slightly different ways.

All, though, justify their amoral behaviours to themselves to avoid feeling guilty about them.

Dr Ingo Zettler, study co-author, explains the D-factor:

“…the dark aspects of human personality have a common denominator, which means that — similar to intelligence — one can say that they are all an expression of the same dispositional tendency.

For example, in a given person, the D-factor can mostly manifest itself as narcissism, psychopathy or one of the other dark traits, or a combination of these.

But with our mapping of the common denominator of the various dark personality traits, one can simply ascertain that the person has a high D-factor.

This is because the D-factor indicates how likely a person is to engage in behaviour associated with one or more of these dark traits.”

The results come from a series of studies of over 2,500 people.

All were asked whether they agreed with statements like:

  • “It is sometimes worth a little suffering on my part to see others receive the punishment they deserve.”
  • “I know that I am special because everyone keeps telling me so.”

The study explored the following nine dark personality factors:

  1. Egoism
  2. Machiavellianism
  3. Moral disengagement
  4. Narcissism
  5. Psychological entitlement
  6. Psychopathy
  7. Sadism
  8. Self-interest
  9. Spitefulness

The results showed that at their core, each of the dark personality factors had much in common.

People who have the dark core factor are also likely to have the behaviours of multiple dark personality types.

People with this dark factor are all around us, said Dr Zettler:

“We see it, for example, in cases of extreme violence, or rule-breaking, lying, and deception in the corporate or public sectors.

Here, knowledge about a person’s D-factor may be a useful tool, for example to assess the likelihood that the person will reoffend or engage in more harmful behaviour.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Review (Moshagen et al., 2018).

3 Inner Virtues That Come With Age That May Surprise You (M)

On top of wisdom, there are three inner virtues which unexpectedly come with age.

On top of wisdom, there are three inner virtues which unexpectedly come with age.

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The Personality Trait Linked To A Stronger Immune System

People with this personality trait live an average of two to four years longer.

People with this personality trait live an average of two to four years longer.

People who are conscientious have stronger immune systems and live the longest lives, research finds.

Conscientious people tend to be self-disciplined and they aim for achievement.

Highly conscientious people live an average of two to four years longer.

They are also less likely to smoke or drink and experience lower levels of stress.

Two aspects of conscientiousness have the strongest link to a long life:

  • a preference for order,
  • and an orientation towards achievement.

Now, a new study finds that the link is at least partly explained by the immune system.

People higher in conscientiousness have lower levels of a biological marker called interleukin-6, which is linked to inflammation in the body.

Dr Páraic Ó Súilleabháin, the study’s first author, said:

“Our personality is critically important throughout our lives, from early stages in our development, to the accumulation of the impact of how we think, feel, and behave across our lives, and in the years preceding our death.

It is also becoming increasingly apparent how important personality actually is for our long-term health and resulting longevity.

For instance, it has been shown that people scoring lower on the personality trait of conscientiousness (a tendency to be responsible, organized, and capable of self-control) can be at a 40% increased risk of future death compared to their higher scoring counterparts.

What is not clear is how this could happen, and importantly, what biological pathway might be responsible for this link.”

The study included 957 adults who were tracked over 14 years.

Dr Ó Súilleabháin explained the results:

“We found that part of the reason why people who score higher on the personality trait of conscientiousness live longer is as a result of their immune system, specifically due to lower levels of a biological marker called interleukin-6.

There are likely further biological mechanisms that are yet to be discovered which will give a clearer picture of all the different ways that our personalities are so critical to our long-term health.”

Other personality traits linked to a stronger immune system include extraversion and being emotionally stable.

→ Read on: How to change your personality.

The study was published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (O’Súilleabháin et al., 2021).

The Personality Trait That Indicates Depression Risk

Around 25% of Americans experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

Around 25% of Americans experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

Being neurotic is the strongest risk factor for depression and anxiety, research finds.

Neuroticism is a tendency to experience negative emotions like fear, guilt, shame, sadness and anger.

People who are neurotic tend to startle easily and can be nervous even when there is nothing to be nervous about, the study showed.

The good news is that a depressive personality can be changed, contrary to what many people think.

Also, being high in conscientiousness and an extravert together has a protective effect on people who are highly neurotic.

The conclusions come from a study of 132 adolescents who were told they would receive mild electric shocks at specific moments.

The results showed that neurotic people were more nervous even when they knew there was no shock coming.

Professor Michelle Craske, the study’s first author, said:

“…these findings suggest that persons with high neuroticism would respond with appropriate fear to actual threatening events, but with additional unnecessary anxiety to surrounding conditions.

This type of responding may explain why neuroticism contributes to the development of pervasive anxiety.”

Professor Craske explained that her goal is to see what separates depression from anxiety and what unites them:

“Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand; we’re trying to learn what factors place adolescents at risk for the development of anxiety and depression, what is common between anxiety and depression, and what is unique to each.

We chose this age group because 16-to-19 is when anxiety and mood disorders tend to surge in prevalence.”

Many of the participants were already experiencing anxiety and depression before the study started, Professor Craske said:

“We assumed most would not be currently anxious or depressed and we would see who develops disorders over time.

We were surprised to see that more than 20 percent had a current or past anxiety disorder, and 30 percent had a current or past mood disorder at the start of the study.”

The study was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry (Craske et al., 2009).

Is Our Psychology More Nature or Nurture? 29 Million Twins Reveal All (M)

14.5 million pairs of twins reveal the root cause of your personality, intelligence, propensity for mental illness and health.

14.5 million pairs of twins reveal the root cause of your personality, intelligence, propensity for mental illness and health.

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