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The current study was the first to examine whether someone who believes they have the ability to emotionally manipulate others actually engages in emotionally manipulative behaviour. This was achieved by a factor analysis of 10 items from Austin et al.’s (2007) original emotional manipulation (EM) scale combined with a new scale including the same 10 items, each modified to capture one’s willingness to emotionally manipulate. In addition to completing the emotional manipulation scales, participants (N = 234; 193 females, 41 males) also completed measures of primary psychopathy, secondary psychopathy and emotional intelligence. Two interpretable factors emerged from the factor analysis: trait EM-perceived ability and trait EM-willingness. Multiple regressions with the new factors as the dependent variables revealed that primary psychopathy (callousness, deceitfulness) was a predictor of self-reported ability and willingness to emotionally manipulate. However, only secondary psychopathy was a significant predictor of willingness, suggesting that those without anti-social and impulsive traits are more likely to report an ability to emotional manipulate rather than engagement in emotionally manipulative behaviours. Limitations are considered. The results suggest that the modified scale may be a more appropriate measurement of one being willing to emotionally manipulate others.

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Journal Article

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