Inside the MMPI Machiavellianism (mach) scale

The MMPI is among the world’s most validated test, an incredible exam of 500 true/false questions designed to give insights into personality. When I got my degree in Psychology, I was fascinated by all of the unobtrusive questions to detect lying, and personality dimensions.

The MMPI was designed using empirical methods on zillions of people, using proven statistical techniques to assess every dimension of ytour personality.

See below for an actual example of an MMPI personality assessment, it’s quite impressive.

The validity of the MMPI is based on empirical statistics, using real-world collections where people with a known disorder will tend to answer a question in a certain way!

Often as not, psychologists don’t fuly understand the “why” for a statistically significant correlations, but that’s not important. All that counts is the predictivie validity of the answer!

Unobtrusive questions are used to disguise the ointent of the measured metrics. For excample, people with a certain combinations of disorders tend to be scared ot taking showers, and the innocent question “Do ytou prefer to take showers or baths” will reveal a dimension to the respondent’s personality.

The most fascinating MMPI scale was the Machiavellian scale, called the “mach” scale. This is a MMPI scale devised to measure your propensity to be able to manipulate other people:

See my notes on the MMPI and business profiling.

Main MMPI scales:

1 Hs – Hypochondriasis
2 D – Depression
3 Hy – Hysteria
4 Pd – Psychopathic Deviate
5 Mf – Masculinity–Femininity
6 Pa – Paranoia
7 Pt – Psychasthenia
8 Sc – Schizophrenia
9 Ma – Hypomania
0 Si – Social Introversion

Clinical Subscales

(Harris-Lingoes and Social Introversion subscales, Extended Score Report and The Minnesota Reports)

Harris-Lingoes Subscales
D1 – Subjective Depression
D2 – Psychomotor Retardation
D3 – Physical Malfunctioning
D4 – Mental Dullness
D5 – Brooding
Hy1 – Denial of Social Anxiety
Hy2 – Need for Affection
Hy3 – Lassitude-Malaise
Hy4 – Somatic Complaints
Hy5 – Inhibition of Aggression
Pd1 – Familial Discord
Pd2 – Authority Problems
Pd3 – Social Imperturbability
Pd4 – Social Alienation
Pd5 – Self-Alienation
Pa1 – Persecutory Ideas
Pa2 – Poignancy
Pa3 – Naiveté
Sc1 – Social Alienation
Sc2 – Emotional Alienation
Sc3 – Lack of Ego Mastery, Cognitive
Sc4 – Lack of Ego Mastery, Conative
Sc5 – Lack of Ego Mastery, Defective Inhibition
Sc6 – Bizarre Sensory Experiences
Ma1 – Amorality
Ma2 – Psychomotor Acceleration
Ma3 – Imperturbability
Ma4 – Ego Inflation
Social Introversion Subscales
Si1 – Shyness/Self-Consciousness
Si2 – Social Avoidance
Si3 – Alienation – Self and Others

Content Scales

(Extended Score Report, The Minnesota Reports, and Criminal Justice and Correctional Report)
ANX – Anxiety
FRS – Fears
OBS – Obsessiveness
DEP – Depression
HEA – Health Concerns
BIZ – Bizarre Mentation
ANG – Anger
CYN – Cynicism
ASP – Antisocial Practices
TPA – Type A
LSE – Low Self-Esteem
SOD – Social Discomfort
FAM – Family Problems
WRK – Work Interference
TRT – Negative Treatment Indicators

Content Component Scales

(Extended Score Report and The Minnesota Reports [except the Alcohol and Drug Treatment System Report])
Fears Subscales
FRS1 – Generalized Fearfulness
FRS2 – Multiple Fears
Depression Subscales
DEP1 – Lack of Drive
DEP2 – Dysphoria
DEP3 – Self-Depreciation
DEP4 – Suicidal Ideation
Health Concerns Subscales
HEA1 – Gastrointestinal Symptoms
HEA2 – Neurological Symptoms
HEA3 – General Health Concerns
Bizarre Mentation Subscales
BIZ1 – Psychotic Symptomatology
BIZ2 – Schizotypal Characteristics
Anger Subscales
ANG1 – Explosive Behavior
ANG2 – Irritability
Cynicism Subscales
CYN1 – Misanthropic Beliefs
CYN2 – Interpersonal Suspiciousness
Antisocial Practices Subscales
ASP1 – Antisocial Attitudes
ASP2 – Antisocial Behavior
Type A Subscales
TPA1 – Impatience
TPA2 – Competitive Drive
Low Self-Esteem Subscales
LSE1 – Self-Doubt
LSE2 – Submissiveness
Social Discomfort
SOD1 – Introversion
SOD2 – Shyness
Family Problems
FAM1 – Family Discord
FAM2 – Familial Alienation
Negative Treatment Indicators
TRT1 – Low Motivation
TRT2 – Inability to Disclose

Supplementary Scales

AGGR – Aggressiveness
PSYC – Psychoticism
DISC – Disconstraint
NEGE – Negative Emotionality/Neuroticism
INTR – Introversion/Low Positive Emotionality
Broad Personality Characteristics
A – Anxiety
R – Repression
Es – Ego Strength
Do – Dominance
Re – Social Responsibility
Generalized Emotional Distress
Mt – College Maladjustment2
PK – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder–Keane
MDS – Marital Distress

Behavioral Dyscontrol

Ho – Hostility
O-H – Overcontrolled Hostility2
MAC-R – MacAndrew–Revised
AAS – Addiction Admission
APS – Addiction Potential

Here is a Sample MMPI result:


Significant levels of emotional upset are reported which may interfere with memory, concentration, abstraction and judgment.

Mr. Sample is not reflective or thoughtful which can limit insight and judgment. He does not try to understand the world in cognitive, rational ways.

Concentration difficulties are probable with Mr. Sample being distractible, preoccupied, and inattentive. This may cause Mr. Sample to miss important environmental cues leading to decreased judgment and coping.

Mr. Sample is likely to be concrete in his thinking due to personality factors despite his potential level of intellectual functioning as personality factors predispose Mr. Sample to overly focus on detail and miss general trends.

Mr. Sample likes clear-cut situations and has trouble dealing with ambiguity, novelty and change.

He is an extremely cognitively rigid individual who has fixed ideas from which he has trouble deviating. Mr. Sample may fail to take in additional information or alter his opinion once an idea is formed. Poor judgment and situational misperceptions can result from reacting in terms of these fixed beliefs without seeing if they match the current situation. At this level, delusional ideation may occur.

Due to a lack of self-confidence, Mr. Sample may be indecisive and have problems with decision-making.

Mr. Sample may show poor planning as he is severely cognitively impulsive. A lack of proper cognitive mediation and/or planning is likely as he often acts without considering consequences or alternative courses of action.

Due to his cognitive style, Mr. Sample may have severe difficulty learning by experience and may repeatedly make the same mistakes.

Severe racing thoughts and flight of ideas may be occurring which can result in cognitive impulsivity, poor concentration, inattention and misinterpretation of situations.

Severe obsessive ruminations and worries are reported that are very likely to disrupt Mr. Sample’s cognitive
efficiency. Levels of brooding over problems exist to the point where he may lose control of his thought processes.

Mr. Sample reports feeling somewhat mentally dull as he reports experiencing increased cognitive inefficiency.

Schizotypal features were not present.

Thinking is goal-directed and orderly without significant mental confusion. Mr. Sample reports having significant levels of psychotic-like thoughts and sensory experiences with hallucinations, delusions, ideas of reference, and strange physical experiences possible.

This should be clinically examined. Significant ego-alien ideas and feelings of unreality are reported that distress Mr. Sample and make him feel as if he is “losing his mind.”

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