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Sun May 29, 2016, 06:06 PM

Online poker offers new insights into the mind-set of scheming Machiavellians,

[Advising any political candidates? Maybe suggest they play online poker.]


Individuals who engage in amoral and deceptive manipulation, and who tend to seek control over others and gain status for themselves are often described as Machiavellian -- after the infamous Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian Renaissance diplomat and author of The Prince.

In the paper 'Machiavelli as a poker mate -- a naturalistic behavioural study on strategic deception' (published by the journal Personality and Individual Differences) researchers show that people with high Machiavellian traits are likely to bluff (pretend they have a strong hand by betting strongly) at a similar rate as low-Machiavellians. However, when they do bluff they bluff bigger. Researchers believe this could be because they like to be in control of situations and relationships.

Dr Jeff Yan, Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University's School of Computing and Communications, led the research with his post-doc researcher Jussi Palomäki (now at the University of Helsinki).

Dr Yan said: "To be a successful poker player, the general advice is to be the one controlling the action. Machiavellians might have an increased propensity to bluff not because they are amoral or desire status in life, but because they dislike showing weakness and generally desire to be in control."

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