Project

Collective narcissism and intergroup exclusion

Goal: Research project objectives/Research hypothesis: The proposed research addresses a timely need to find ways of preventing political radicalization among members of marginalized social groups. It examines whether mindful gratitude meditation - the practice of grateful appreciation of the present moment – reduces aggression among people who use aggression to retaliate to exclusion in intergroup relations i.e. collective narcissists (Golec, et al., 2016). Collective narcissism is an emotional investment in a belief in greatness of one’s own group (ingroup) contingent on external validation (Golec, et al., 2009). Collective narcissists retaliate aggressively to intergroup threat to protect the vulnerable sense of self-worth invested in their group’s image (Golec, et al., 2017). Mindful practice of prosocial emotions fortifies against self-vulnerability, improves self-regulation, and reduces reactivity to threat (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Kabat-Zinn, 1982). As such, it may be particularly effective in addressing self-regulation deficits underlying collective narcissism. Thus, the proposed research tests whether (Hypothesis 1) collective narcissists feel distressed after being excluded by another group, which leads them to aggress against this group, which reduces their distress and whether (Hypothesis 2) mindful gratitude meditation reduces the link between collective narcissism and aggression in face of intergroup exclusion because it offers an alternative way to reduce distress. Initial support for these hypotheses has been offered by a large pilot study (N = 569), which showed that mindful gratitude meditation (vs. mindful attention practice and vs, control condition), reduced the link between collective narcissism and prejudice by reducing the perception of the targeted group as a source of threat. Research project methodology: We plan a series of experimental studies to test a model in which collective narcissism is a moderator of the effect of experimentally induced intergroup (vs. interpersonal) exclusion (vs. inclusion, using the Cyberball paradigm for intergroup contexts, Wirth & Williams, 2009) on intergroup aggression (assessed in the Taylor Aggression Paradigm as white noise blast, Chester, 2017; or as symbolic aggression in the Voodoo Doll task, Chester & DeWall, 2016; or by self-report measures). In this model, distress is a continuous mediator assessed by self-report measures and as activation of social pain and resilience circuits in the brain (in an fMRI study) combined with variability in the heart rate and respiratory patterns (respiratory sinus arrhythmia), cortisol reactivity or pupil dilation (in an eye-tracker study). The studies assess distress by self-report and by its physiological and neural signatures because previous research indicated that narcissists do not report (and possibly do not acknowledge) the distress they experience after social exclusion as indicated by physiological and neural assessments (Cascio, et al., 2015). This model will be tested among participants who took part (vs. control) in mindful gratitude meditation before experiencing exclusion. Additionally, effectiveness of mindful gratitude meditation will be compared to mindful attention practice, gratitude practice (without mindfulness, assessed by the diary method), and known methods of reducing aggression among individual narcissists (self-affirmation) and reducing intergroup hostility (imagined intergroup contact). In addition, long-term effects of mindful gratitude meditation would be examined in a 12 weeks intervention study with four measurement points.
Expected impact of the research project on the development of science: In the context of the global terrorism threat, one of the vital challenges of social sciences is understanding ways of preventing radicalization of people who may feel their group is marginalized in intergroup relations. Members of such radicalized groups score high on the Collective Narcissism Scale (Jaśko, et al., 2017). Thus, the planned research can have a significant impact on development of social sciences allowing us to better understand the psycho-physiological mechanism underlying collective narcissistic aggression in face of intergroup exclusion and ways of constructively down-regulating this mechanism. This knowledge will be also of use in integrating and multi-cultural Europe, where the issue of maintaining harmonious and productive intergroup relations is fundamental especially, while it faces the refugee crisis and needs to rapidly address psychological consequences of social marginalization. In addition, neither the effectiveness of mindfulness as a method of aggression reduction, nor the effectiveness of other methods of reducing intergroup aggression have been sufficiently examined among people prone to prejudice and intergroup aggression such as collective narcissists. The proposed research can bring important insights in this important domain.
Pioneering nature of the research project: The project is based on the cutting edge research on collective narcissism, neural and physiological correlates of distress of social exclusion and the role of mindfulness and prosocial emotionality in reducing distress. The project secured confirmed collaboration of leading experts in those areas of research. The project is truly interdisciplinary as it combines the methods and discoveries of social and clinical psychology, social neuroscience and physiology of distress. The planned research test novel hypotheses combining the new discoveries in those domains in an innovative and creative way. Thus, the project can bring substantial theoretical advances in our understanding of (1) the defensive nature of collective narcissism, which was frequently postulated but never empirically tested; (2) the role of individual differences and situational factors in moderating of the effects of intergroup exclusion, which is still not sufficiently understood and (3) the still unclear mechanisms of the influence of mindfulness on intergroup attitudes and behaviors.

Date: 15 February 2018

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Project log

Kamila Kaffka-Skierka
added an update
We are offering 2 post doctoral positions at the Department of Psychology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poznan, Poland. The position is to collaborate at the research program entitled ‘Mindfulness as an intervention reducing retaliatory aggression among collective narcissists’ lead by dr Agnieszka Golec de Zavala.
Requirements
Doctoral degree in psychology or related social sciences Experience in dissemination of research findings Very good understanding of multivariate statistics Very good command of English
Employment for a minimum of 6 months, a maximum for a year.
Gross salary of PLN 8,300 per month.
Information about the project collectivenarcissism.com
For more information please contact Agnieszka Golec de Zavala <agolec@swps.edu.pl>
 
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added 12 research items
Results of three cross-sectional studies indicate that sexism in Poland is associated with collective narcissism—a belief that one’s own group’s (the in-group’s) exaggerated exceptionality is not sufficiently recognized by others—with reference to three social identities: male, religious, and national. In Study 1 (n = 329), male collective narcissism was associated with sexism. This relationship was sequentially mediated by precarious manhood and traditional gender beliefs. In Study 2 (n = 877), Catholic collective narcissism predicted tolerance of violence against women (among men and women) over and above religious fundamentalism and in contrast to intrinsic religiosity. In Study 3 (n = 1070), national collective narcissism was associated with hostile sexism among men and women and with benevolent sexism more strongly among women than among men. In contrast, national in-group satisfaction—a belief that the nation is of a high value—predicted rejection of benevolent and hostile sexism among women but was positively associated with hostile and benevolent sexism among men. Among men and women collective narcissism was associated with tolerance of domestic violence against women, whereas national in-group satisfaction was associated with rejection of violence against women.
The present study explored the antecedents of solidarity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that solidarity during mass emergencies involves the development of a social identity encompassing those facing a common fate, we examined how national in-group satisfaction (a belief that the national in-group and one’s membership in it are of high value) versus national collective narcissism (a belief that the national in-group is exceptional and entitled to privileged treatment, but not sufficiently recognized by others) predicted solidarity with those affected by the pandemic in Poland. The results of cross-sectional and dynamic analyses from a panel study on a representative sample of Polish adults indicate that in-group satisfaction predicted greater COVID-19 solidarity, whereas collective narcissism predicted reduced COVID-19 solidarity.
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added a research item
Opposition to sexual minority rights in Poland is among the highest in the EU. Populist political actors in the country repeatedly scapegoat gays and lesbians, presenting them as a threat to the Polish nation and its shared norms and values, particularly those derived from religion. Building upon previous research which shows how discourse constructing homo-sexuality as a threat to the nation has been used by social and political actors to legitimize homophobic rhetoric and behaviour, our paper aims to show whether nationalism-understood here as national collective narcissism-predicts prejudice towards gays and lesbians at the level of individual beliefs.
Karolina Dyduch-Hazar
added a research item
In-group identification is necessary for in-group members to take responsibility for the past transgressions of the in-group. However, even among high identifiers, the reactions to reminders of the in-group's transgression may differ depending on the beliefs members hold about their in-group. Results of a cross-sectional study (N = 441), indicate that collective narcissism (i.e., a belief that the in-group's importance is not sufficiently recognized by others) versus in-group satisfaction (i.e., a belief that the in-group is of high value and a reason to be proud of) have opposite unique associations with the evaluation of the artistic value of films referring to Polish involvement in pogroms during the Second World War (Ida and The Aftermath, a proxy of an attitude towards knowledge about past national transgressions). Collective narcissism predicted lower, whereas in-group satisfaction predicted higher, perceived artistic value of the films. Those unique relationships could only be observed when the positive association between collective narcissism and in-group satisfaction was partialled out.
Karolina Dyduch-Hazar
added a research item
We examined whether and why collective narcissism (i.e., resentment for insufficient recognition of the in-group’s importance) versus in-group satisfaction (i.e., a belief that the in-group and one’s membership in it are reasons to be proud) have opposite, unique associations with hostility towards Syrian refugees in Poland. Results of two cross-sectional studies (Study 1, N=1066 and Study 2, N=419) converge to indicate that collective narcissism predicts hostility towards Syrian refugees via attributing Syrian refugees with hostile intentions towards Poles. In-group satisfaction is associated with rejection of hostile actions towards Syrian refugees because it decreases hostile attribution bias with regards to Syrian refugees. Thus, being a satisfied member of a national group promotes tolerance towards refugees, while collective narcissism is associated with blaming refugees for provoking the in-group’s hostility.
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added 5 research items
According to social identity theory, low self-esteem motivates group members to derogate out-groups, thus achieving positive in-group distinctiveness and boosting self-esteem. According to the Frankfurt School and status politics theorists, low self-esteem motivates collective narcissism (i.e., resentment for insufficient external recognition of the in-group’s importance), which predicts out-group derogation. Empirical support for these propositions has been weak. We revisit them addressing whether (1) low self-esteem predicts out-group derogation via collective narcissism, and (2) this indirect relationship is only observed after partialling out the positive overlap between collective narcissism and in-group satisfaction (i.e., belief that the in-group is of high value and a reason to be proud). Results based on cross-sectional (Study 1, N = 427) and longitudinal (Study 2, N = 853) designs indicated that self-esteem is uniquely, negatively linked to collective narcissism and uniquely, positively linked to in-group satisfaction. Results based on cross-sectional (Study 3, N = 506; Study 4, N = 1059; Study 5, N = 471), longitudinal (Study 6, N = 410), and experimental (Study 7, N = 253) designs corroborated these inferences. Further, they revealed that the positive overlap between collective narcissism and in-group satisfaction obscures the link between self-esteem and out-group derogation.
Collective narcissism is a tendency to exaggerate an in-group's importance and desire for its external recognition. The concept was coined to help explain the mass support for the Nazi politics in Germany. Recently, several successful populist campaigns were based on collective narcissistic calls for revival of national purity, uniqueness, and greatness. This chapter reviews research on collective narcissism to elucidate why collective narcissism is robustly associated with hypersensitivity to intergroup threat and intergroup hostility. Collective narcissism is differentiated from (a) nationalism (i.e., a desire for national supremacy) based on its approach to in-group's vulnerability, (b) in-group satisfaction (i.e., feeling proud to be a member of a valuable group) based on its approach to in-group's membership, and (c) individual narcissism (i.e., exaggerated self-image dependent on admiration of others) based on its means to fulfill self-entitlement. Collective narcissism is associated with retaliatory intergroup hostility over and above other predictors such as nationalism, blind patriotism, right wing authoritarianism, or social dominance orientation. It is associated with exaggerated responses to in-group criticism, conspiratorial thinking, and a tendency to perceive the in-group as threatened by external hostility. It is predicted by low self-esteem via vulnerable narcissism (i.e., frustrated and unfulfilled sense of self-entitlement). Thus, the reviewed research suggests that collective narcissists engage in intergroup hostility to protect their vulnerable self-worth invested in in-group's exaggerated greatness. © Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018.
The social identity approach to wellbeing posits that social identifications provide psychological resources that contribute to individual wellbeing. Unless individuals identify with stigmatized groups or groups whose norms prescribe damaging behaviors, identifying with groups seems beneficial. This article explores the possibility that the different ways individuals approach the same social identity (labeled collective narcissism vs. in-group satisfaction) may be differentially associated with wellbeing. Results of four studies indicate that collective narcissism (a belief that the in-group’s exceptionality is not sufficiently appreciated by others) vs. in-group satisfaction, (a belief that the in-group is of a high value), although positively correlated, are associated with different emotional profiles. In Study 1A (N = 570, in Poland) and Study 1B (N = 778, in the United States), collective narcissism was uniquely positively associated with negative emotionality, whereas in-group satisfaction was positively associated with positive emotionality and negatively associated with negative emotionality. In Study 2 (N = 569, in Poland), collective narcissism and in-group satisfaction had opposite unique links with social connectedness, gratitude and self-criticism. In Study 3 (N = 393, in Poland), collective narcissism, but not in-group satisfaction, was associated with sensory processing sensitivity, genetically determined hypersensitivity to negative stimuli. Collective narcissism was associated with life satisfaction only via its link to in-group satisfaction. Together these results suggest that dispositional negative emotionality may incline individuals toward collective narcissism. The positive overlap with in-group satisfaction may link collective narcissism to the benefits of social identification and wellbeing.
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added an update
We are looking for a post doctoral researcher with interests in social psychology of intergroup relations 6 months to 3 years
 
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added an update
We are looking for a post doc with expertise in neuroscience to conduct an fMRI experiment examining the effects of social exclusion among collective narcissists
More details here:
 
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added a project goal
Research project objectives/Research hypothesis: The proposed research addresses a timely need to find ways of preventing political radicalization among members of marginalized social groups. It examines whether mindful gratitude meditation - the practice of grateful appreciation of the present moment – reduces aggression among people who use aggression to retaliate to exclusion in intergroup relations i.e. collective narcissists (Golec, et al., 2016). Collective narcissism is an emotional investment in a belief in greatness of one’s own group (ingroup) contingent on external validation (Golec, et al., 2009). Collective narcissists retaliate aggressively to intergroup threat to protect the vulnerable sense of self-worth invested in their group’s image (Golec, et al., 2017). Mindful practice of prosocial emotions fortifies against self-vulnerability, improves self-regulation, and reduces reactivity to threat (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Kabat-Zinn, 1982). As such, it may be particularly effective in addressing self-regulation deficits underlying collective narcissism. Thus, the proposed research tests whether (Hypothesis 1) collective narcissists feel distressed after being excluded by another group, which leads them to aggress against this group, which reduces their distress and whether (Hypothesis 2) mindful gratitude meditation reduces the link between collective narcissism and aggression in face of intergroup exclusion because it offers an alternative way to reduce distress. Initial support for these hypotheses has been offered by a large pilot study (N = 569), which showed that mindful gratitude meditation (vs. mindful attention practice and vs, control condition), reduced the link between collective narcissism and prejudice by reducing the perception of the targeted group as a source of threat. Research project methodology: We plan a series of experimental studies to test a model in which collective narcissism is a moderator of the effect of experimentally induced intergroup (vs. interpersonal) exclusion (vs. inclusion, using the Cyberball paradigm for intergroup contexts, Wirth & Williams, 2009) on intergroup aggression (assessed in the Taylor Aggression Paradigm as white noise blast, Chester, 2017; or as symbolic aggression in the Voodoo Doll task, Chester & DeWall, 2016; or by self-report measures). In this model, distress is a continuous mediator assessed by self-report measures and as activation of social pain and resilience circuits in the brain (in an fMRI study) combined with variability in the heart rate and respiratory patterns (respiratory sinus arrhythmia), cortisol reactivity or pupil dilation (in an eye-tracker study). The studies assess distress by self-report and by its physiological and neural signatures because previous research indicated that narcissists do not report (and possibly do not acknowledge) the distress they experience after social exclusion as indicated by physiological and neural assessments (Cascio, et al., 2015). This model will be tested among participants who took part (vs. control) in mindful gratitude meditation before experiencing exclusion. Additionally, effectiveness of mindful gratitude meditation will be compared to mindful attention practice, gratitude practice (without mindfulness, assessed by the diary method), and known methods of reducing aggression among individual narcissists (self-affirmation) and reducing intergroup hostility (imagined intergroup contact). In addition, long-term effects of mindful gratitude meditation would be examined in a 12 weeks intervention study with four measurement points.
Expected impact of the research project on the development of science: In the context of the global terrorism threat, one of the vital challenges of social sciences is understanding ways of preventing radicalization of people who may feel their group is marginalized in intergroup relations. Members of such radicalized groups score high on the Collective Narcissism Scale (Jaśko, et al., 2017). Thus, the planned research can have a significant impact on development of social sciences allowing us to better understand the psycho-physiological mechanism underlying collective narcissistic aggression in face of intergroup exclusion and ways of constructively down-regulating this mechanism. This knowledge will be also of use in integrating and multi-cultural Europe, where the issue of maintaining harmonious and productive intergroup relations is fundamental especially, while it faces the refugee crisis and needs to rapidly address psychological consequences of social marginalization. In addition, neither the effectiveness of mindfulness as a method of aggression reduction, nor the effectiveness of other methods of reducing intergroup aggression have been sufficiently examined among people prone to prejudice and intergroup aggression such as collective narcissists. The proposed research can bring important insights in this important domain.
Pioneering nature of the research project: The project is based on the cutting edge research on collective narcissism, neural and physiological correlates of distress of social exclusion and the role of mindfulness and prosocial emotionality in reducing distress. The project secured confirmed collaboration of leading experts in those areas of research. The project is truly interdisciplinary as it combines the methods and discoveries of social and clinical psychology, social neuroscience and physiology of distress. The planned research test novel hypotheses combining the new discoveries in those domains in an innovative and creative way. Thus, the project can bring substantial theoretical advances in our understanding of (1) the defensive nature of collective narcissism, which was frequently postulated but never empirically tested; (2) the role of individual differences and situational factors in moderating of the effects of intergroup exclusion, which is still not sufficiently understood and (3) the still unclear mechanisms of the influence of mindfulness on intergroup attitudes and behaviors.
 
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added an update
We are offering a 4 year long doctoral scholarship at the Department of Psychology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poznan, Poland. The scholarship is offered to collaborate at the research program entitled ‘Mindfulness as an intervention reducing retaliatory aggression among collective narcissists’ lead by dr Agnieszka Golec de Zavala.
Description of the project: The proposed research addresses a need to find ways of preventing political radicalization among members of marginalized social groups. It examines whether mindful gratitude meditation - the practice of grateful appreciation of the present moment – reduces aggression among people who use aggression to retaliate to exclusion in intergroup relations i.e. collective narcissists (Golec de Zavala, et al., 2016). Collective narcissism is an emotional investment in a belief in greatness of one’s own group (ingroup) contingent on external validation (Golec de Zavala, et al., 2009). Collective narcissists retaliate aggressively to intergroup threat to protect the vulnerable sense of self-worth invested in their group’s image (Golec de Zavala , et al., 2017). Mindful practice of prosocial emotions fortifies against self-vulnerability, improves self-regulation, and reduces reactivity to threat (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Kabat-Zinn, 1982). As such, it may be particularly effective in addressing self-regulation deficits underlying collective narcissism. Thus, the proposed research tests whether collective narcissists feel distressed after being excluded by another group, which leads them to aggress against this group, which reduces their distress and whether mindful gratitude meditation reduces the link between collective narcissism and aggression in face of intergroup exclusion because it offers an alternative way to reduce distress.
Salary: 4500PLN monthly
Successful candidate will join a team of international researchers working on this project (Dr David Chester, Prof Kip Williams, Prof Constantine Sedikides) and will become a member of the PrejudiceLab https://sites.gold.ac.uk/prejudicelab/ as well as social neuroscience lab in Poznan. The candidate will visit the lab of dr Chester as Virginia Commonwealth University to conduct an fMRI study for the project. Other tasks of the post doctoral researcher will include
- Literature review on the topics of ostracism, narcissism, self-transcendent emotions and mindfulness
- Assisting in lab-based research using experimental and longitudinal design with psychophysiological assessment (eyetracking, ECG, cortisol)
- Assistance in data-processing and analysis
- Collaboration in dissemination of results, supporting the project’s webpage, conference presentations and scientific publications
We are looking for candidates who:
- Hold a Masters degree in psychology or related sciences
- Have a documented experience in conducting and disseminating psychological research. Experience in conducting longitudinal research and research in two arm randomised control trial design will be an additional advantage
- Good command of quantitative research methods, statistical analysis in the context of regression and good command of SPSS or other relevant packages
Questions and application (CV, cover letter) should be sent directly to dr Agnieszka Golec de Zavala at agnieszka.golec@gmail.com by 1st of October, 2018
 
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added an update
We are offering a 4 year long post doctoral position at the Department of Psychology, University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poznan, Poland. The position is to collaborate at the research program entitled ‘Mindfulness as an intervention reducing retaliatory aggression among collective narcissists’ lead by dr Agnieszka Golec de Zavala.
Description of the project: The proposed research addresses a need to find ways of preventing political radicalization among members of marginalized social groups. It examines whether mindful gratitude meditation - the practice of grateful appreciation of the present moment – reduces aggression among people who use aggression to retaliate to exclusion in intergroup relations i.e. collective narcissists.
We are offering a competitive salary of 8300PLN monthly
Questions and application (CV, cover letter and references) should be sent directly to dr Agnieszka Golec de Zavala at agnieszka.golec@gmail.com until 1st of October, 2018
 
Agnieszka Golec de Zavala
added 12 research items
Two studies examined the relationship between collective narcissism—an emotional investment in an unrealistic belief about the greatness of an in-group (Golec de Zavala, Cichocka, Eidelson, & Jayawickreme, 2009) — and anti-Semitism in Poland. The results indicate that this relationship is simultaneously mediated by (a) a belief that the in-group is constantly threatened by hostile intentions of other groups (Polish siege beliefs; Bar-Tal & Antebi, 1992a, 1992b) and (b) a belief that the Jews are a particularly threatening out-group because they secretly aim to dominate the world (the conspiracy stereotype of Jews; Bergmann, 2008; Kofta & Sędek, 2005). These results confirm that collective narcissism predicts prejudice against social groups perceived as threatening. Collective narcissists’ sensitivity to intergroup threat is composed of beliefs about vulnerability of the in-group and hostility of the out-group.
Results of 4 experiments demonstrated that under in-group image threat collective narcissism predicts retaliatory intergroup hostility. Under in-group criticism (vs. praise) collective narcissists expressed intention to harm the offending out-group but not other, nonoffending out-groups. This effect was specific to collective narcissism and was replicated in studies that accounted for the overlap between collective narcissism and individual narcissism, in-group positivity (in-group identification, blind and constructive patriotism), social dominance orientation, and right wing authoritarianism. The link between collective narcissism and retaliatory intergroup hostility under in-group image threat was found in the context of national identity and international relations and in the context of a social identity defined by university affiliation. Study 4 demonstrated that the relationship between collective narcissism and intergroup hostility was mediated by the perception of in-group criticism as personally threatening. The results advance our understanding of the mechanism driving the link between collective narcissism and intergroup hostility. They indicate that threatened egotism theory can be extended into the intergroup domain. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
This paper reviews current research on intergroup consequences of collective narcissism – an emotional investment in an unrealistic belief in exaggerated greatness of an in-group. Integrating findings of the psychology of intergroup relations with findings regarding psychological outcomes of individual narcissism, the collective narcissism construct addresses the relationship between ‘in-group love’ and ‘out-group hate’. Differentiating between narcissistic and genuine positive group regard uncovers the potential of genuine ‘in-group’ love to motivate positive out-group attitudes and intergroup tolerance. Collective narcissism is also shown to be the aspects of positive group attachment that inspires defensive and retaliatory intergroup hostility under perceived threat. Narcissistic idealization of an in-group is contingent on external validation and underlain by internal doubts. Collective narcissists are never fully satisfied with external acknowledgement of the in-group and they are sensitive to anything that may undermine the in-group’s exaggerated image.