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In cognitive science and evolutionary psychology, Machiavellian intelligence (also known as political intelligence or social intelligence) is the capacity of an entity to be in a successful political engagement with social groups. The first introduction of this concept to primatology came from Frans de Waal's book "Chimpanzee Politics" (1982), which described social maneuvering while explicitly quoting Machiavelli. Also known as machiavellianism, it is the art of manipulation in which others are socially manipulated in a way that benefits the user.
Machiavellian intelligence may be demonstrated by behaviors including:
- Blaming and forgiveness;
- Lying and truth-telling;
- Making and breaking alliances;
- Making and breaking promises;
- Making and breaking rules;
- Misleading and misdirection.
The term refers to Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince (1513) and to the hypothesis that the techniques which lead to certain kinds of political success within large social groups are also applicable within smaller groups, including the family-unit. The term "everyday politics" was later introduced in reference to these various methods. These arguments are based on research by primatologists such as Nicholas Humphrey (1975).
- Michael Walzer, Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands (PDF), Institute for Advanced Study
- Carlson, N.R., et al. (2007). Psychology: The Science of Behaviour - 4th Canadian ed.. Toronto, ON: Neil R. Carlson.
- Humphrey, N. K. (1976). The social function of the intellect. In P. P. G. Bateson & R. A. Hinde (eds.). Growing points in ethology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- Byrne, R. W., & Whiten, A. (1988). Machiavellian intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press