“The Devil in Disguise”: A Test of Machiavellianism Instruments (the Mach-IV, the Machiavellian Personality Scale, and the Five Factor Machiavellianism Inventory)





Machiavellianism, Mach-IV, Machiavellian Personality Scale, Five Factor Machiavellianism Inventory, validity


The main aim of this study was to test the convergent, discriminant, and criterion validity of the Serbian adaptations of three Machiavellianism instruments (the Mach-IV, the short version of the Machiavellian Personality Scale – MPS-short, and the Five Factor Machiavellianism Inventory – FFMI) based on their relations with HEXACO traits, distress aspects (anxiety, depression, and stress), and emotion regulation strategies (suppression and reappraisal). The sample included 195 participants (80% were women) from Serbia, aged between 18 and 60 years, and the most of them were students. The results showed that the Mach-IV and the MPS-short are mutually more similar to each other and their main negative correlate is Honesty-Humility, while the FFMI appears to be distant from the other instruments and its main positive correlates are Extraversion and Conscientiousness and a negative one is Emotionality. Furthermore, the Mach-IV and MPS-short showed positive relations with distress aspects and non-adaptive emotion regulation (suppression), while the FFMI showed opposite patterns of relations. Since the FFMI captures the most items and facets, it explained the most variance of distress and regulation strategies, but the Mach-IV and the MPS-short, especially its amorality facet, showed significant incremental contribution in the explanation of anxiety, stress, and suppression. We discuss implications of the use of each of the three instruments.


Metrics Loading ...


Akram, U., & Stevenson, J. C. (2021). Self-disgust and the dark triad traits: The role of expressive suppression. Personality and Individual Differences, 168, 110296., 1-5. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2020.110296 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110296

Al Aïn, S., Carré, A., Fantini-Hauwel, C., Baudouin, J.Y., & Besche-Richard, C. (2013). What is the emotional core of the multidimensional Machiavellian personality trait? Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 454. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00454 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00454

Ashton, M.C., & Lee, K. (2009). The HEXACO–60: A short measure of the major dimensions of personality. Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(4), 340–345. doi:10.1080/00223890902935878 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00223890902935878

Bereczkei, T. (2016). Machiavellizmus. A megtévesztés pszichológiája, Budapest: Typotex Kiadó.

Bianchi, R., & Mirkovic, D. (2020). Is Machiavellianism associated with depression? A cluster-analytic study. Personality and Individual Differences, 152, 109594. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2019.109594 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.109594

Christie, R., & Geis, F.L. (Eds.). (1970). Studies in Machiavellianism. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-174450-2.50006-3

Collison, K.L., Vize, C.E., Miller, J.D., & Lynam, D.R. (2018). Development and preliminary validation of a five factor model measure of Machiavellianism. Psychological Assessment, 30(10), 1401–1407. doi:10.1037/pas0000637 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/pas0000637

Collison, K. L., South, S., Vize, C. E., Miller, J. D., & Lynam, D. R. (2021). Exploring gender differences in Machiavellianism using a measurement invariance approach. Journal of Personality Assessment, 103(2), 258–266. doi:10.1080/00223891.2020.1729773 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00223891.2020.1729773

Côté, S., DeCelles, K.A., McCarthy, J.M., Van Kleef, G.A., & Hideg, I. (2011). The Jekyll and Hyde of emotional intelligence: Emotion-regulation knowledge facilitates both prosocial and interpersonally deviant behavior. Psychological Science, 22(8), 1073–1080. doi:10.1177/0956797611416251 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611416251

Cronbach, L. J., & Gleser, G. C. (1953). Assessing similarity between profiles. Psychological Bulletin, 50, 456–473. doi:10.1037/h0057173 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/h0057173

Dahling, J.J., Whitaker, B.G., & Levy, P.E. (2009). The development and validation of a new Machiavellianism scale. Journal of Management, 35(2), 219–257. doi:10.1177/0149206308318618 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206308318618

Dinić, B.M., Cmiljanić, A., & Rokvić, N. (2021). Relacije Mračne tetrade, aleksitimije i distresa: analiza na nivou faceta, antagonističkog i agensnog faktora mračnih crta [Relationships between the Dark Tetrad, alexithymia, and distress: Analysis at the facet level and level of antagonistic and agentic factors of dark traits]. Primenjena Psihologija, 41(3), 329–364. doi:10.19090/pp.2021.3.329-364 DOI: https://doi.org/10.19090/pp.2021.3.329-364

Dinić, B.M., Petrović, B., & Jonason, P.K. (2018). Serbian adaptations of the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen (DTDD) and Short Dark Triad (SD3). Personality and Individual Differences, 134, 321–328. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2018.06.018 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.06.018

Dinić, B. M., Wertag, A., Tomašević, A., & Sokolovska, V. (2020). Centrality and redundancy of the Dark Tetrad traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 155, 109621. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2019.109621 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.109621

Dinić, B.M., Wertag, A., Sokolovska, V., & Tomašević, A. (2021). The good, the bad, and the ugly: Revisiting the Dark Core. Current Psychology. Online First. doi:10.1007/s12144-021-01829-x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01829-x

Fehr, B., Samson, D., & Paulhus, D.R. (1992). The construct of Machiavellianism: Twenty years later. In C.D. Spielberger & J.N. Butcher (Eds.), Advances in personality assessment (pp. 77–116). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Gómez-Leal, R., Megías-Robles, A., Gutiérrez-Cobo, M. J., Cabello, R., Fernández-Abascal, E. G., & Fernández-Berrocal, P. (2019). Relationship between the Dark Triad and depressive symptoms. PeerJ, 7: e8120. doi:10.7717/peerj.8120 DOI: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.8120

Gross, J.J., & John, O.P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(2), 348–362. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.85.2.348 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.2.348

Gu, H., Wen, Z., & Fan, X. (2017). Structural validity of the Machiavellian Personality Scale: A bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling approach. Personality and Individual Differences, 105, 116–123. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.09.042 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.09.042

Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55. doi:10.1080/10705519909540118 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118

IBM Corp. (2019). IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 26.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.

Jones, D.N. (2016). The nature of Machiavellianism: Distinct patterns of misbehavior. In V. Zeigler-Hill & D.K. Marcus (Eds.), The dark side of personality: Science and practice in social, personality, and clinical psychology (pp. 87–107). American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/14854-005 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/14854-005

Jones, D.N., & Paulhus, D.L. (2009). Machiavellianism. In M.R. Leary & R.H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 93–108). The Guilford Press.

Kückelhaus, B.P., & Blickle, G. (2021). An Other Perspective on Five Factor Machiavellianism. Journal of Personality Assessment. Online First. doi:10.1080/00223891.2021.1905652 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00223891.2021.1905652

Kückelhaus, B.P., Blickle, G., Kranefeld, I., Körnig, T., & Genau, H.A. (2020). Five Factor Machiavellianism: Validation of a new measure. Journal of Personality Assessment, Online First. doi:10.1080/00223891.2020.1784182 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2020.14725abstract

Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2005). Psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism in the Five-Factor Model and the HEXACO model of personality structure. Personality and Individual Differences, 38(7), 1571–1582. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2004.09.016 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2004.09.016

Lorenzo-Seva, U., & Ten Berge, J. M. (2006). Tucker's congruence coefficient as a meaningful index of factor similarity. Methodology, 2(2), 57–64. doi:10.1027/1614-2241.2.2.57 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1027/1614-2241.2.2.57

Lovibond, P.F., & Lovibond, S.H. (1995). The structure of negative emotional states: Comparison of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) with the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33(3), 335–343. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(94)00075-u DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-7967(94)00075-U

Malesza, M., & Kaczmarek, M.C. (2019). Dark side of health-predicting health behaviors and diseases with the Dark Triad traits. Journal of Public Health, 29, 275–284. doi:10.1007/s10389-019-01129-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-019-01129-6

Međedović, J., & Petrović, B. (2015). The dark tetrad: Structural properties and location in the personality space. Journal of Individual Differences, 36, 228–236. doi:10.1027/1614–0001/a000179 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1027/1614-0001/a000179

Miller, J.D., Hyatt, C.S., Maples-Keller, J.L., Carter, N.T., Lynam, D.R. (2017). Psychopathy and Machiavellianism: A distinction without a difference? Journal of Personality, 85, 439–453. doi:10.1111/jopy.12251 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12251

Miller, B.K., Smart, D.L., & Rechner, P.L. (2015). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Machiavellian Personality Scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 82, 120–124. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.03.022 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.03.022

Monaghan, C., Bizumic, B., & Sellbom, M. (2018). Nomological network of two-dimensional Machiavellianism. Personality and Individual Differences, 130, 161–173. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2018.03.047 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.03.047

Muris, P., Merckelbach, H., Otgaar, H., & Meijer, E. (2017). The malevolent side of human nature: A meta-analysis and critical review of the literature on the Dark Triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(2), 183–204. doi:10.1177/1745691616666070 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691616666070

O’Connor, B.P. (2000). SPSS and SAS programs for determining the number of components using parallel analysis and Velicer’s MAP test. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 32(3), 396–402. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03200807

Paulhus, D. L. (2014). Toward a taxonomy of dark personalities. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(6), 421–426. doi:10.1177/0963721414547737 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721414547737

Paulhus, D.L., & Williams, K.M. (2002). The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36(6), 556–563. doi:10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00505-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00505-6

Popov, S., Janičić, B., & Dinić, B. (2016). Validacija srpske adaptacije Upitnika emocionalne regulacije (ERQ) [Validation of the Serbian adaptation of the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ)]. Primenjena Psihologija, 9(1), 63–81. doi:10.19090/pp.2016.1.63-81 DOI: https://doi.org/10.19090/pp.2016.1.63-81

Rauthmann, J.F., & Will, T. (2011). Proposing a multidimensional Machiavellianism conceptualization. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 39(3), 391–403. doi:10.2224/sbp.2011.39.3.391 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2011.39.3.391

Rosseel, Y. (2012). lavaan: An R Package for Structural Equation Modeling. Journal of Statistical Software, 48(2), 1–36. https://www.jstatsoft.org/v48/i02/. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v048.i02

Sokolovska, V., Dinić, B.M., & Tomašević, A. (2018). Aggressiveness in the HEXACO personality model. Psihologija, 51(4), 449–468. doi:10.2298/psi170705022s DOI: https://doi.org/10.2298/PSI170705022S

Tabachnick, B.G., & Fidell, L.S. (2019). Using Multivariate Statistics (7th Ed.). Boston, USA: Pearson.

Talmácsi, Gy., Orosz, G., Birkás, B., & Bereczkei, T. (2012). A Dahling-féle Machiavellizmus skála validálása. Alkalmazott Pszichológia, 3, 63–82.

Visser, B.A., & Campbell, S. (2018). Measuring the dark side of personality. In V. Zeigler-Hill & T.K. Shackelford (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of personality and individual differences: Volume I: The science of personality and individual differences (pp. 573–591). London, England: SAGE Publications. doi:10.4135/9781526451163.n27 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781526451163.n27

Vonk, J., Zeigler-Hill, V., Ewing, D., Mercer, S., & Noser, A.E. (2015). Mindreading in the dark: Dark personality features and theory of mind. Personality and Individual Differences, 87, 50–54. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.07.025 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.07.025




How to Cite

Grabovac, B. ., & Dinić, B. M. (2022). “The Devil in Disguise”: A Test of Machiavellianism Instruments (the Mach-IV, the Machiavellian Personality Scale, and the Five Factor Machiavellianism Inventory). Primenjena Psihologija, 15(3), 327–353. https://doi.org/10.19090/pp.v15i3.2391