Empathy plays a critical role in fostering and maintaining social relations. Narcissists lack empathy, and this may account for their interpersonal failures. But why do narcissists lack empathy? Are they incapable, or is change possible? Three studies addressed this question. Study 1 showed that the link between narcissism and low empathy generalizes to a specific target person presented in a vignette. The effect was driven by maladaptive narcissistic components (i.e., entitlement, exploitativeness, exhibitionism). Study 2 examined the effect of perspective-taking (vs. control) instructions on self-reported responses to a video. Study 3 examined the effect of the same manipulation on autonomic arousal (heart rate) during an audio-recording. Perspective-taking ameliorated negative links between maladaptive narcissism and both self-reported empathy and heart rate. That is, narcissists can be moved by another’s suffering, if they take that person’s perspective. The findings demonstrate that narcissists’ low empathy does not reflect inability, implying potential for intervention.
... Similar to the CTL group, participants in the NPD group acted more self-beneficially when prosociality was believed to be highly detrimental, and acted more prosocially when their own benefit was conditional on punishing others. Prosocial behavior can be shaped by inducing prosocial motives (Hein et al., 2016), and explicit instructions to consider others' perspectives can increase prosocial responding in non-clinical narcissistic individuals (Hepper et al., 2014). Although we did not provide such explicit instructions, our task was effective for pitting self-beneficial against prosocial motives. ...
... Collectively, our data indicate that self-beneficial behavior in NPD relies on diminished consideration of prosocial motives, which obviates the need to resolve conflict with self-beneficial tendencies. However, this may reflect a reduced propensity, not ability, to act prosocially (Hepper et al., 2014;Meffert et al., 2013). Potentially, this reflects differences between NPD and, for instance, antisocial personality disorder, which could be tested explicitly in future studies. ...
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) entails severe impairments in interpersonal functioning that are likely driven by self-beneficial and exploitative behavior. Here, we investigate the underlying motivational and neural mechanisms of prosocial decision-making by experimentally manipulating motivational conflict between self-beneficial and prosocial incentives. One group of patients diagnosed with NPD and a group of healthy controls (CTL) were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a prosocial decision-making task. In this task, we systematically varied the level of conflict between self-beneficial and prosocial options on each trial. We analyzed choice behavior, response times, and neural activity in regions associated with conflict monitoring to test how motivational conflict drives prosocial choice behavior. Participants in the NPD group behaved less prosocially than the CTL group overall. Varying degrees of motivational conflict between self-beneficial and prosocial options induced response variability in both groups, but more so in the CTL group. The NPD group responded faster than the CTL group, unless choosing prosocially, which slowed response times to a level comparable to the CTL group. Additionally, neural activity tracking motivational conflict in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex was reduced in the NPD group. Collectively, low generosity in NPD appears to arise from reduced consideration of prosocial motives, which obviates motivational conflict with self-beneficial motives and entails reduced activity in neural conflict monitoring systems. Yet, our data also indicate that NPD is not marked by an absolute indifference to others' needs. This points to potentials for improving interpersonal relationships, effectively supporting the well-being of patients and their peers.
... Regarding the negative association found between NN and healthy concern, similar results were obtained by Hepper et al. (2014). As previously mentioned, NN, while being mostly related to adaptive traits, is also associated with interpersonal dominance behaviors (Brown & Zeigler-Hill, 2004), exploitation of others (Emmons, 1984), relationship problems (Miller & Campbell, 2008), and an approach to others generally rooted in competitiveness and status-seeking (Bernard, 2014). ...
Some studies suggest that narcissism, either grandiose, vulnerable, or normal, is empirically associated with healthy or pathological concern towards others. These relationships remain poorly documented, and existing research only offers theoretical rationales as to the nature of the narcissism–concern association. The present study aims to assess the relationships between the various types of narcissism and concern while including the mediating role of explicit motives. French-speaking adults (n = 213) completed self-report questionnaires measuring these constructs. Results of mediation analyses suggest that specific motives mediate the positive associations observed between vulnerable or grandiose narcissism and pathological concern as well as the negative associations observed between grandiose or normal narcissism and healthy concern. Thus, it seems that pathological concern could be used as a maladaptive self-regulation mechanism by both forms of pathological narcissism. Fear motives mediate both relationships, suggesting avoidance as the main drive behind pathological concern in pathological narcissism. Also, the negative association between normal narcissism and healthy concern is coherent with the antagonistic interpersonal style of this form of narcissism. Results add to the practical knowledge of narcissism through a better understanding of the factors involved in self-regulation mechanisms.
... Narcissism can be characterized by a motivation to build and maintain a grandiose self-view (Rhodewalt & Peterson, 2009) and has frequently been referred to as a "mixed blessing" (Paulhus, 1998(Paulhus, , p. 1207): On the one hand, narcissism is associated with positive aspects such as self-esteem, charisma, and leadership emergence (Bosson et al., 2008;Grijalva et al., 2015;Rogoza & Fatfouta, 2020). Yet, on the other hand, narcissism is associated with negative aspects such as feelings of entitlement, aggression, and lack of empathy (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998;Exline et al., 2004;Fatfouta et al., 2022;Hepper et al., 2014). ...
Broad sections of the population try to be more mindful, often with quite self-centered motives. It is therefore not surprising that there is growing interest in the investigation of narcissism and mindfulness. Despite theoretical and empirical ties, however, existing research on this association is scarce. In two studies (N = 3,134 and 403) with English- and German-speaking participants, we apply structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the relationships between facets of grandiose narcissism and trait mindfulness. Across both studies and, using different narcissism and mindfulness measures, SEM consistently revealed opposing patterns for agentic and antagonistic narcissism, with agentic narcissism being positively related to trait mindfulness, and antagonistic narcissism being negatively related to it. Findings highlight the necessity to acknowledge the conceptual heterogeneity of narcissism when examining its relationship with trait mindfulness. Practical implications regarding how agentic and antagonistic narcissists might profit differently from mindfulness practice are discussed.
Actions that financially benefit one person may present risk to another person. For example, the payment incentives of portfolio managers and investors are often asymmetrical such that actions that benefit a portfolio manager can pose financial risk to clients. Despite the presence and potential harm of these asymmetries, few have addressed the question of who exploits these asymmetries and how to mitigate potential harm. Our study examined the effect of selfish personality traits (the Dark Triad) and interpersonal bonding on decision‐making for the self, another person, and another person with under reward asymmetry present. Results demonstrated that individuals higher in narcissism and psychopathy made risky decisions for themselves. However, when reward asymmetries were present, all three Dark Triad traits were associated with making riskier decisions for another person in order to benefit the self. There was also a significant interaction between interpersonal closeness generated through bonding and psychopathy such that bonding made the decision‐making processes of those high in psychopathy less risky for others. These findings have implications for how different individuals with different relationships make self and other‐based financial decisions, and how those decisions change when rewards are asymmetrical.
Three studies tested a novel model of the narcissism-paranoia link, whereby narcissism (primarily its socially maladaptive facets) is associated with paranoia via over-use of defensive self-protection and/or under-use of self-affirmation.
In Study 1, 245 online volunteers (87% female; MAGE=20.92; 44% White-British) completed trait measures of narcissism, self-enhancement/protection strategies and paranoia. In Study 2, 116 students (82% female; MAGE=20.23; 70% White-British) completed baseline measures, then reported state reactions and paranoia following two difficult and two pleasant interpersonal events after 3-10 days. In Study 3, 517 online volunteers (64% female; MAGE=22.76; 77% White/Caucasian) completed baseline measures, experienced a standardised social exclusion (vs. neutral) manipulation (Cyberball), then reported state reactions and paranoia.
In Study 1, narcissism was associated with higher paranoia via defensiveness. In Study 2, this was replicated in difficult but not pleasant events, and was driven by the Entitlement/Exploitativeness facet of narcissism. In Study 3, narcissistic rivalry and vulnerable narcissism, but not admiration, were associated with Cyberball-related paranoia via general defensiveness and denigration of others.
Individuals high in narcissism—especially its socially maladaptive facets—who over-rely on defensive self-protection strategies in response to threat, are particularly vulnerable to paranoia. Findings help to understand individual differences in paranoia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on the physical
and psychological functioning of the entire world's population. Our study has
had three major aims: (1) to identify the major sources of discomfort related to
COVID-19 pandemic in third year psychology students, (2) to establish a hierarchy of the major sources of discomfort, and (3) to identify possible vulnerabilities for different sources of discomfort. We used a cross-sectional study to
explore more accurately the individual reactions and possible vulnerabilities, also
including open-ended questions to explore perceived sources of discomfort.
Our study included 289 third-year psychology students from Babe -Bolyai
University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania (M=24.39 years, SD=7.12). All participants
were assessed regarding their levels of: depression, narcissistic traits, perfectionism, perceived stress, self-esteem, intolerance of uncertainty, subjective
well-being, and emotion regulation strategies.
Our results indicate significant gender and age differences: male participants reported mobility restrictions as a source of discomfort more frequently
than female participants, and younger students are less concerned with restrictions regarding social relations, while older students report less emotional problems and less concern with educational problems. Students living in urban
areas report less emotional problems than students from rural areas. The results
generated by our research point out certain social and psychological vulnerabilities for each perceived source of discomfort (emotion-regulation strategies,
perfectionism, narcissism), can bring a valuable input in counselling and therapy for individuals who are maximally affected by the pandemic of COVID-19.
Here, we examine face memory among individuals who are self‐focused and care little about others’ needs: grandiose narcissists. Given narcissistic individuals’ excessive self‐focus and tendency to disregard the needs of others, they may struggle to recognize faces and their surrounding environment. Indeed, narcissistic individuals demonstrated worse recognition memory than non‐narcissistic individuals in recognition memory tests for faces (Studies 1 [N = 332] and 2 [N = 261]). This difference also occurred for nonsocial stimuli (i.e., objects, houses, cars), suggesting a broad recognition deficit (Study 3A [N = 178], 3B [N = 203], 3C [N = 274]). Narcissistic individuals’ excessive self‐focus predicted this memory deficit (Study 4 [N = 187]). Grandiose narcissism may therefore influence visual recognition memory, highlighting the potential for future research linking personality and cognitive performance.
Background: Lack of empathy is one of the main characteristics of narcissists. However, it is not clear whether there is a similar deficit in other facets of mentalizing, such as perspective-taking.
Method: In this study, we measured the taking visual perspectives ascribed to different targets (e.g., first-person self, third-person self-avatar, and third-person stranger avatar). Our study focused on separate groups of individuals with high and low self-reported narcissistic traits.
Results: Participants reporting high Narcissism scores showed higher accuracy in a third-person perspective-taking task than did their low-Narcissism counterparts. However, when the first-person perspective was incongruent with the third-person (first person vs. self- tagged avatar), the accuracy of their responses decreased.
Conclusions: The discrepancy between the two types of perspective taking of people with high narcissism can probably mean that the narcissistic people perfectly identify / empathize with one object (person, avatar, character, etc.) and therefore their perspective-taking is disrupted when they need to identify with more than one object that represent their self-attributed perspectives.
In a previous study, we showed that personality traits related to self-regulation such as risk readiness and subjective rationality, as well as the Dark Triad traits (psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) predicted decisions about social distancing in different ways in Russian and Azerbaijani samples, whereas cognitive empathy was a shared positive predictor. Using a battery of assessments, we investigated the presence of latent profiles of personality traits in these two samples. We expected this analysis to shed further light onto the interplay between cultural factors and individual differences in decision making. Methods. Two samples consisting of individually matched (by age and sex) participants from Russia and Azerbaijan, N=299 each, participated in the study. We utilized the following questionnaires: Questionnaire of Cognitive and Affective Empathy (QCAE), Personality Factors of Decision Making (LFR), Dirty Dozen. Latent profile analysis was performed separately for Russian and Azerbaijan samples in the VarSelLCM package for R. The results revealed two near-identical latent profiles in both samples. The two latent profiles differed primarily on the Dark Triad traits. Empathy did not act as a universal discriminating variable. Cultural specificity was found not for class composition but rather the discriminating power of individual variables.
Conclusions. In both cultures the presence of two similar latent profiles of personality traits were found, indicating that individual differences dominated the variance in individual assessment results, compared to cultural factors.
Reactions to trait self-enhancers were investigated in 2 longitudinal studies of person.perception in discussion groups. Groups of 4-6 participants met 7 times for 20 rain. After Meetings 1 and 7, group members rated their perceptions of one another. In Study 1, trait self-enhancement was indexed by measures of narcissism and self-deceptive enhancement. At the first meeting, self-enhancers made positive impressions: They were seen as agreeable, well adjusted, and competent. After 7 weeks, however, they were rated negatively and gave self-evaluations discrepant with peer evaluations they received. In Study 2, an independent sample of observers (close acquaintances) enabled a pretest index of discrepancy self-enhancement: It predicted the same deteriorating pattern of interpersonal perceptions as the other three trait measures. Nonetheless, all self-enhancement measures correlated positively with self-esteem.
We present a process model that distinguishes 2 dimensions of narcissism: admiration and rivalry. We propose that narcissists' overarching goal of maintaining a grandiose self is pursued by 2 separate pathways, characterized by distinct cognitive, affective-motivational, and behavioral processes. In a set of 7 studies, we validated this 2-dimensional model using the newly developed Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire (NARQ). We showed that narcissistic admiration and rivalry are positively correlated dimensions, yet they have markedly different nomological networks and distinct intra- and interpersonal consequences. The NARQ showed the hypothesized 2-dimensional multifaceted structure as well as very good internal consistencies (Study 1, N = 953), stabilities (Study 2, N = 93), and self-other agreements (Study 3, N = 96). Narcissistic admiration and rivalry showed unique relations to the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), the Big Five, self-esteem, pathological narcissism, and other narcissism-related traits like Machiavellianism, psychopathy, self-enhancement, and impulsivity (Study 4, Ns = 510-1,814). Despite the positive relation between admiration and rivalry, the 2 differentially predicted general interpersonal orientations and reactions to transgressions in friendships and romantic relationships (Study 5, N = 1,085), interpersonal perceptions during group interactions (Study 6, N = 202), and observed behaviors in experimental observations (Study 7, N = 96). For all studies, the NARQ outperformed the standard measure of narcissism, the NPI, in predicting outcome measures. Results underscore the utility of a 2-dimensional conceptualization and measurement of narcissism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
To facilitate a multidimensional approach to empathy the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) includes 4 subscales: Perspective-Taking (PT) Fantasy (FS) Empathic Concern (EC) and Personal Distress (PD). The aim of the present study was to establish the convergent and discriminant validity of these 4 subscales. Hypothesized relationships among the IRI subscales between the subscales and measures of other psychological constructs (social functioning self-esteem emotionality and sensitivity to others) and between the subscales and extant empathy measures were examined. Study subjects included 677 male and 667 female students enrolled in undergraduate psychology classes at the University of Texas. The IRI scales not only exhibited the predicted relationships among themselves but also were related in the expected manner to other measures. Higher PT scores were consistently associated with better social functioning and higher self-esteem; in contrast Fantasy scores were unrelated to these 2 characteristics. High EC scores were positively associated with shyness and anxiety but negatively linked to egotism. The most substantial relationships in the study involved the PD scale. PD scores were strongly linked with low self-esteem and poor interpersonal functioning as well as a constellation of vulnerability uncertainty and fearfulness. These findings support a multidimensional approach to empathy by providing evidence that the 4 qualities tapped by the IRI are indeed separate constructs each related in specific ways to other psychological measures.
There is considerable evidence that trait empathy affects single-episode helping behavior. However, the influence of empathy on more continuous altruistic behavior, such as voluntarism, has not been investigated. This study utilizes a four-dimensional empathy scale, the Davis Interpersonal Reactivity Index, to assess the relationship between trait empathy and voluntarism. Structural equation analysis results indicate that Perspective Taking, Empathic Concern, and Personal Distress dimensions of empathy are positive antecedents of voluntarism as hypothesized. The Fantasy dimension was not related to voluntarism.
The chameleon effect refers to nonconscious mimicry of the postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviors of one's interaction partners, such that one's behavior passively rind unintentionally changes to match that of others in one's current social environment. The authors suggest that the mechanism involved is the perception-behavior link, the recently documented finding (e.g., J. A. Bargh, M. Chen, & L. Burrows, 1996) that the mere perception of another' s behavior automatically increases the likelihood of engaging in that behavior oneself Experiment 1 showed that the motor behavior of participants unintentionally matched that of strangers with whom they worked on a task. Experiment 2 had confederates mimic the posture and movements of participants and showed that mimicry facilitates the smoothness of interactions and increases liking between interaction partners. Experiment 3 showed that dispositionally empathic individuals exhibit the chameleon effect to a greater extent than do other people.
Publisher Summary It is possible for one person to experience an emotion when he or she perceives that another person is experiencing an emotion. The relationship between action and the sharing of feelings is obviously not a simple or direct one. It is possible to study so subtle and important a phenomenon as empathy in the laboratory and to examine some of the determinants of empathy. The process leading to empathy can be understood in terms of cognitive variables such as the mental set that the person has when he or she observes the other. The form or type of social relationships between one person and another influences the amount of empathy, presumably because the form of the social relationship influences the manner of perceiving the other and thinking about him or her. Individual differences in reactions to social situations, in perceiving the other, and in thinking about him or her must be considered in predicting how much empathizing will occur. These individual differences appear to be determined in part by the birth order of the person.