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  • 1 Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University, Hope Park, UK
  • 2 Department of Student Support and Wellbeing, Liverpool Hope University, Hope Park, UK
  • 3 Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • 4 Liverpool Hope University, Hope Park, L16 9JD, UK
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Abstract

Theory of Mind (ToM), the capacity to read mental states of other people, is a tool that allows individuals to function efficiently during social interactions. Although ToM has been studied extensively in clinical populations, few studies have focused on ToM capacity in the general population. In this study, the relationship between ToM and the personality construct Machiavellianism are investigated. In evolutionary terms, a link between exploitative strategy and ToM would be expected — in order to be a successful manipulator, an individual should have a good understanding of the emotions and intentions of others. We found that Machiavellianism was, in fact, negatively correlated with both hot and cold measures of Theory of Mind. We suggest that high-Machs have deficits in empathizing ability, which allows them to exploit others. The findings also question the idea of Machiavellian Intelligence as a driving force behind evolution of social intelligence in humans.

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