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Journal Article


Hyatt CS, Weiss BM, Carter NT, Zeichner A, Miller JD. Personal. Disord. 2018; 9(6): 543-552.


Department of Psychology.


(Copyright © 2018, American Psychological Association)






Narcissism has been robustly linked to self-report and lab-based measures of aggression. However, less is known about the role that a competitive context may play in the relations found between narcissism and aggression as measured in behavioral paradigms. In circumstances of competition, narcissistic individuals may be particularly attuned to external indicators of status and use aggression as a way of asserting power and a motivation to "win," rather than to do harm. The goal of the present study was to test the role of competition in understanding the relation between narcissism and related traits (i.e., psychopathy) and aggression by manipulating cues of competition. First, participants (N = 220) completed questionnaires to assess levels of trait narcissism and associated variables (e.g., psychopathy, five-factor model traits, and self-esteem). In a separate session, participants were randomly assigned to interact with an ostensible confederate under the guise of either a competitive or noncompetitive interaction, and then were given the opportunity to administer electric shocks to their partner.

RESULTS suggest that the antagonistic and grandiose features of narcissism were significantly related to aggression in both conditions, as was the antagonism factor of psychopathy and (low) Agreeableness dimension of the five-factor model. However, tests of moderation found no significant interaction effects between narcissism and condition in the hypothesized direction (and a few in the opposite direction such that narcissism was more strongly related in the noncompetition condition).

FINDINGS are discussed in terms of the importance of antagonism in predicting antisocial outcomes such as aggression. (PsycINFO Database Record

(c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

Language: en


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