The relationship between Machiavellianism, social goals and social aggression
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Social aggression -- the use of covert forms of aggression such as betrayal, gossip, and rumor-spreading -- has only recently been the focus of research and is not yet well understood. This study hypothesizes that the tactics of socially aggressive children are consistent with the social manipulations of Machiavelli. Niccolo Machiaveli wrote extensively on the coercive techniques he used to gain power, achieve his goals, and defend his country (e.g. Machiavelli, 1513/1968). Christie and Geis (1970), inspired by Machiaveli, began researching a form of social manipulation that they term Machiavellianism. While the similarities in characteristics of Machiavellian and socially aggressive children seem to indicate that they may share behavioral strategies and social goals, there is no research to date that compares these children. Additionally, since little research has examined the goals of social aggression in relational conflict situations this study used a quantitative measure of social goals in order to better understand the purpose of a child's behavior.
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