Machiavellianism and Overconfidence

25 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2011

Date Written: March 2, 2011


We examine the relationship between Machiavellianism and overconfidence. Participants were invited to take part in a real-world prediction task: forecasting the outcomes of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In Studies 1 and 2, participants gave probabilistic forecasts for the outcomes of the tournament, completed a measure of Machiavellianism, and also estimated their relative performance. We found that Machiavellians expected themselves to outperform others to a greater extent than non-Machiavellians. However, they actually performed worse. In Study 3, participants played a betting task. Again, we found that Machiavellians tended to earn less. Further, across all three studies, Machiavellians tended to use probabilities that deviated more extremely from the base-rates. Hence, by all measures, they were more overconfident. This research contributes to the link of one of the constituents of the “dark triad” with overconfidence.

Keywords: Machiavellianism, Forecasting, Predictions, Judgments, Overconfidence

Suggested Citation

Jain, Kriti and Bearden, Joseph Neil, Machiavellianism and Overconfidence (March 2, 2011). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2011/29/DS, Available at SSRN: or

Joseph Neil Bearden

INSEAD - Decision Sciences ( email )

United States

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