The Machiavellians’ “Cool Syndrome”: They Experience Intensive Feelings but Have Difficulties in Expressing Their Emotions

Linda Szijjarto, T. Bereczkei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies clearly show that Machiavellian thinking and behavior are characterized by some kind of cold attitude; a tendency to be detached from the emotional features of a particular situation. However, very little is known what this cold-minded attitude means, and the presence or absence of which characteristics can lead to emotional detachment. Machiavellianism was found to have significant relationships with Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism. Surprisingly, our study indicated that Machiavellians - contrary to the widespread conception - show more emotional instability: they may experience strong emotions and easily lose their coolness in various situations. However, we also found that they cannot express their emotions as subtly and precisely as others. We argue that this is exactly the deficit that can create the best condition for deceiving others. If Machiavellian persons have a difficulty in expressing their own emotions, they can easily disguise their true intentions from their partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-375
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 5 2015



  • Big five
  • Emotional expression
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Machiavellianism
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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