Machiavellianism, Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Goals, and Social Interest: A Self-Determination Theory Analysis

Abstract

We employ Deci and Ryan's self-determination theory of motivation in three studies to examine the goals and motivational orientation associated with Machiavellianism (MACH). Goals were classified as either extrinsic (e.g., financial success) or intrinsic (e.g., community feeling). The two types of goals are generally associated with different motivational experiences. Extrinsic goals are typically experienced as externally controlled, whereas intrinsic goals are experienced as self-determined. We predicted that MACH would be associated with an emphasis on the extrinsic goal of financial success specifically, and on a control motivational orientation in general. These predictions received support. Additional findings indicate that MACH is positively associated with alienation and antisocial behavior, but inversely associated with social interest (i.e., Adler, 1964/1938) and prosocial behavior.

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McHoskey, J.W. Machiavellianism, Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Goals, and Social Interest: A Self-Determination Theory Analysis. Motivation and Emotion 23, 267–283 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021338809469

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Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Antisocial Behavior
  • Prosocial Behavior
  • Theory Analysis
  • Additional Finding