What is Machiavellian intelligence? Views on a
little appreciated side of the psyche

Knecht T.
Psychiatrische Klinik Munsterlingen, Switzerland.
Nervenarzt. 2004 Jan;75(1):1-5


Ethological and evolutionary psychological research has produced evidence that intelligence is not a monolithic functional entity but includes a number of specialized mental abilities to cope with life which even stem from diverse evolutionary origins. One of these subforms of intelligence is called "Machiavellian intelligence," named after the 15/16th century Italian politician and author, Niccolo Machiavelli. It provides individuals or groups with a means of social manipulation in order to attain particular goals. Thus, it builds the psychological basis for the display of power in social groups. Machiavellian intelligence can be observed and evaluated in bands of primates as well as in humans, and there are even tools for measurement in the latter.

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