I can't be classified by wikipedia as someone clearly machiavellian (I'm hedonist (in the sence of general pleasure/pain, not only physical) and try not to hurt other people). Yet, I managed to score 80 on MACH-IV. But I doubt that questions are well selected. In fact almost every question is ambiguous or ill-posed (it's sometimes about belief that everyone is a kind person, I'm not an ultra-optimist, I'm realist and sometimes just about being average person).

By the way, I could not see anything in this test that could reveal machiavellian traits. Moreover, most study show only a weak correlation between them and high score in test. The real correlation is around .2 if not lower, which makes it unreliable.

What I'm thinking is that people with similar [to mine] philosophy also can score higher than average just for similar reasons. And it's completely weird, since philosophies are too different.

Well, for example, I know that concepts of narcissism (but NPI still has around of half useless questions in my opinion) and psychopathy are much better defined and appropriate tests seem to be more accurate. Yet, if there is another type of personality, that may ruin lifes of other people, it can't be revealed by MACH-IV.

In fact statistics show that mean score is around 67 or so, which is considered as high Mach. If majority are high Machs, then there is no dark triad. Also, the form of graph is symmetrical, while form of graph on NPI test is highly assymmetrical.

So, is it just a canard or is there some evidence, that such personality type exists (and it is something that is useful in terms of psychology)? (Of course, some people may treat themselves as the only really clever ones, who should rule the world, but yet think that they look as average person; which is some kind of narcissism).


1 Answer 1


What I'm going to say here pertains mostly to your previous question on this topic, rather than this one, which does strike me as a bit of knee-jerk reaction, however, it might help with this one as well.

Mach-IV has, by design, four main factors but in opposite pairs, so only two main sub-scales, which are added for the total score

  • negative (vs. positive) interpersonal tactics
  • cynical (vs. positive) view of human nature

You can actually look up how the individual questions load into these factors, for instance Table 2 in this paper, the full text of which is freely available. It is possible to score high on one but not the other sub-scale. There are also to two odd questions about Morality in the Mach-IV, but this is a rather poorly designed part of the test. Mach-IV has an overall degree of internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) of 0.7 (mentioned in that paper), which is borderline acceptable.

There is a newer Machiavellianism test that has seen some adoption, called Machiavellian Personality Scale--MPS (2009) which you might be able to find/take; the authors have made it freely available. MPS has more independent scales:

  • Distrust of Others (five items)
  • Desire for Status (three items),
  • Desire for Control (three items)
  • Amorality (five items).

As for usefulness, I don't know of real-world uses of Mach-IV outside of research. It's not like you won't land a job at Best Buy by failing it; actually machiavelianism might help you score such a job, but I'm digressing too mcuh already.

  • $\begingroup$ Mach-IV also has a bunch of questions that ask if you like social norms (moral): question about euthanasia, behaviour, etc. I don't think that they can be classified as interpersonal tactics or human nature. $\endgroup$
    – rus9384
    Nov 5, 2017 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I guess the bold items in MPS are those which correlate strongly with machiavalleian traits: I see much more point in them rather than in other. However, it's still strange to see that there is [negative] correlation between money/power obscession and empathy. $\endgroup$
    – rus9384
    Nov 6, 2017 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ @rus9384: I'm guessing there aren't that many rich philanthropists. Or at least, their philanthropy is not as empathetic as we might assume. That's a actually a good question in itself... $\endgroup$ Nov 6, 2017 at 5:51

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