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Down-regulating narcissistic tendencies: communal focus reduces state narcissism

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narcissism, interdependent self-construal, independent self-construal, empathy, self-enhancement

Abstract (summary)

Narcissism has been conceptualized as a set of coherent, mutually reinforcing attributes that orients individuals toward self-enhancement and positive self-feelings. In this view, reducing one element of narcissism—such as a greater concern for agency than communion—may situationally reduce narcissism in a state-like manner. Across five studies, we found that increasing communal focus toward others decreases state narcissism. In Study 1, participants induced to feel empathy reported less state narcissism. In Studies 2 to 4, participants primed with interdependent self-construal reported less state narcissism than control participants and those primed with independent self-construal. Furthermore, in Study 4, changes in state narcissism mediated changes in desire for fame and perceptions that others deserve help. Thus, changes in one element of narcissism may situationally reduce narcissistic tendencies. These findings suggest that narcissism is more state-like and context-dependent than previously assumed.

Publication Information

Giacomin, M., & Jordan, C. H. (2014). Down-regulating narcissistic tendencies: Communal focus reduces state narcissism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 488-500. doi: 10.1177/0146167213516635


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