The world abounds with tricksters, swindlers, and impostors. Many of them may well be described with the term Machiavellian. Such individuals disrespect moral principles, deceive their fellow beings, and take advantage of others’ frailty and gullibility. They have a penetrating, rational, and sober mind undisturbed by emotions. At times we cannot help but be enchanted by their talent even though we know they misuse it.

Recent studies have revealed that Machiavellians possess a complex set of abilities and motivations. This insightful book examines the complexities of the Machiavellian trait, in relation to attitude, behaviour, and personality. By integrating results and experiences from social, personality, cognitive, and evolutionary psychology, Tamás Bereczkei explores the characteristics of Machiavellianism (such as social intelligence, deception, manipulation, and lack of empathy), and the causes and motives guiding Machiavellian behaviour. The author also demonstrates how Machiavellianism is related to strategic thinking and flexible long-term decisions rather than to a short-term perspective, as previously thought, and explores Machiavellianism in relation to the construct of the Dark Triad.

The first comprehensive psychological book on Machiavellianism since Christie and Geis’ pioneering work in 1970, Machiavellianism summarises the most important research findings over the last few decades. This book is fascinating reading for students and researchers of psychology and related courses, as well as professionals dealing with Machiavellians in their work and practice.

chapter 1|15 pages

What Makes a Machiavellian?

chapter 2|14 pages

Motives and Consequences

chapter 3|14 pages


chapter 4|9 pages

Dark Triad

chapter 5|15 pages

Development, Socialisation, Life History

chapter 6|7 pages


chapter 7|7 pages

Emotional Coldness

chapter 8|11 pages

Emotional Intelligence and Empathy

chapter 9|12 pages

Mind Reading

chapter 10|11 pages


chapter 11|11 pages

Decision Rules and Neural Mechanisms

chapter 12|18 pages

Evolutionary Origins