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Richard Christie (1918–1992)

Author of Studies in Machiavellianism

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Short biography
NYtimes obit, December 23, 1992

Richard Christie, a social psychologist at Columbia University, collapsed and died on Monday in Schermerhorn Hall on the Columbia campus. He was 74 and lived in Manhattan.

Professor Christie died apparently of a heart attack, said Fred Kneubel, a Columbia spokesman.

Beginning in 1954, when he was 36, Professor Christie developed a series of scales to measure manipulative behavior and the characteristics of what he called the Machiavellian personality in adults and to trace the appearance of these traits in the course of child development.

He found that so-called Mach scores were not related to political opinions, racial attitudes, intelligence or level of education. Instead, he said, they stemmed from an individual's views on tactics and morality.

He was born in Purdue, Saskatchewan. He graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1942, became an American citizen and served with the Air Force during World War II. He earned a master's degree in 1947 from the University of Nebraska in 1947 and a doctorate in 1949 from the University of California at Berkeley. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1956, became a full professor in 1960 and was chairman of the Department of Social Psychology from 1962 to 1965 and 1967 to 1968. He retired in 1988.
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