Communication as a fundamental part of machiavellian intelligence.

The Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis proposes that individuals in complex social groups require sophisticated social cognition. This hypothesis has advanced our understanding of the complex social lives of animals and how individuals interact with others in their groups. Machiavellian intelligence is the capacity of an individual to alter the behavior of others around it to the individual’s own advantage. This capacity is typically facilitated by complex communicative systems, social systems, and cognitive abilities. Curiously, communication among group members has not traditionally been a focus of research related to the Machiavellian intelligence hypothesis. Here, we show how a focus on communicative and cognitive complexity together can elucidate nuanced manipulations for selfish gains in socially complex groups, under both competitive and cooperative scenarios. Finally, we argue more generally that a research emphasis on communication in complex social groups may accelerate our understanding of the social mechanisms underlying complex adaptive behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)