Are competitive people less altruistic and more manipulative? Associations among subtypes of competitiveness, hypothetical altruism, and Machiavellianism

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Picture of Maoxin Zhang,

Doctoral Research Fellow Maoxin Zhang.

Photo: private.

Competitiveness as a personality trait is commonly viewed as having three dimensions – competing to win (CW; to dominate and suppress others unscrupulously), competing to surpass (CS; to surpass or excel above others), and competing to develop (CD; to focus on personal development). Using a sample of 926 participants in mainland China, this study examined the structure of competitiveness and inferred relationships between competitiveness and hypothetical altruism in resource allocation games and Machiavellianism. We found that CW was associated with lower levels of hypothetical altruism. Additionally, CW and CS were positively related to Machiavellianism, while CD had a negative association with Machiavellianism. These findings indicated that different dimensions of competitiveness function differently concerning altruism and manipulation, advancing the understanding of competitiveness.

Zhang, Maoxin; Andersson, Björn & Fang, Wang (2021). Are competitive people less altruistic and more manipulative? Associations among subtypes of competitiveness, hypothetical altruism, and Machiavellianism. Personality and Individual Differences.  ISSN 0191-8869.  181 . doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2021.111037

Published June 11, 2021 2:58 PM - Last modified June 11, 2021 2:58 PM