What do Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and William Shakespeare have in common? They can all be credited with introducing the world to some truly wonderful Machiavellian characters.
These scheming, power-hungry, self-interested types are often employed by writers to pull the strings of major plotlines either in prominent roles or behind the scenes. Their calculating behavior can make for great viewing, but you’d probably want to avoid them in real life where possible.
But have you ever wondered whether you might possibly exhibit certain Machiavellian traits? Are you ready to find out?
The following test (known as the MACH-IV test) consists of 20 questions and was first published in 1970 by social psychologists Richard Christie and Florence Geis in their book Studies in Machiavellianism. They reviewed Niccolò Machiavelli’s work and extracted 20 statements that they considered to be central to his themes. The following test asks you to consider how much you agree or disagree with these statements.
Make sure you read the statements carefully to properly understand their meanings, else you might get a less accurate result.
It is possible to be good in all respects.
Honesty is the best policy in all cases.
Most people are brave.
Most people who get ahead in the world lead clean, moral lives.
When you ask someone to do something for you, it is best to give the real reasons for wanting it rather than giving reasons which carry more weight.
People suffering from incurable diseases should have the choice of being put painlessly to death.
It is wise to flatter important people.
Generally speaking, people won’t work hard unless they’re forced to do so.
Never tell anyone the real reason you did something unless it is useful to do so.
One should take action only when sure it is morally right.
It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there.
It is safest to assume that all people have a vicious streak and it will come out when they are given a chance.
The biggest difference between most criminals and other people is that the criminals are stupid enough to get caught.
There is no excuse for lying to someone else.
Most people forget more easily the death of their parents than the loss of their property.
Anyone who completely trusts anyone else is asking for trouble.
Most people are basically good and kind.
The best way to handle people is to tell them what they want to hear.
P.T. Barnum was wrong when he said that there’s a sucker born every minute.
All in all, it is better to be humble and honest than to be important and dishonest.
Total Score (out of 100):
Scores can range from 20 (the least Machiavellian) to 100 (the most Machiavellian). Those scoring 60 or more are considered as ‘high Machs,’ while those scoring below 60 are considered as ‘low Machs.’
High Machs are more likely to deceive and manipulate others for their own personal gain. Low Machs are more likely to display honesty and altruism.
It is worth remembering that this is not a foolproof psychological assessment; a high score doesn’t necessarily mean that you adhere to the Machiavellian way of thinking and nor does a low score preclude you from some Machiavellian tendencies.
This test is for educational purposes only.
What did you score? Are you a high or low Mach? Leave a comment below to tell us what you got and how you feel about it.