There are plenty of tactics in the Machiavellian’s toolkit, but examples include:
- misdirection – where people are fooled into willingly disclosing valuable information; or into acting on information which they later find is incomplete or inaccurate
- white-anting – subverting an organisation or group from within by ‘leaking’ information designed to undermine the group’s goals
- ‘dog-whistling’ – using coded language with one meaning for a group in general, and another for a specific subgroup (hence the name, because high-frequency dog whistles can be heard by dogs, but are inaudible to humans)
Aside from observation and intuition, another way to identify Machiavellianism is by testing for it.
In the 1960s, social psychologists Richard Christie and Florence Geis created a survey from statements in Machiavelli’s writings, asking people how much they agreed with each. They concluded that Machiavellianism is a distinct personality trait, and published this research as MACH-IV in 1970. Those with a ‘high MACH’ rating are more disposed to use Machiavellian tactics.