Wrath of the narcissists: vulnerable narcissism predicts greater spiteful punishment of a third-party transgressor
Links to Fileshttp://library.towson.edu/digital/collection/etd/id/68425
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
v, 68 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Psychology
Self-enhancement motivations underlie a bevy of behaviors with the purpose of achieving and maintaining high, healthy self esteem. However, in individuals with especially favorable self-views (i.e., narcissists), self-enhancement is taken to a dangerous extreme. Narcissists have been shown to self-enhance through aggression, social dominance, and derogation after threats to their self-esteem. Research distinguishes between two types of narcissism: grandiose (associated with exhibitionism, vanity, and self-obsession) and vulnerable narcissism (associated with entitlement, resent, and defensiveness). The present study investigated another possible self-enhancement method of narcissists: spiteful punishment. Spiteful punishments (defined as punishments with the chief purpose being to inflict harm upon a party) may be a possible way for narcissists to assert social dominance over an individual after a threat to their self-esteem. The present study investigated how vulnerable and grandiose narcissists choose to punish after a self-threat and after a neutral condition. Participants (N = 454) completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and the Maladaptive Covert Narcissism Scale, and then were either given negative feedback on an intelligence test, or a neutral task. They then read a vignette about an office bully and rated their endorsement of a series of punishments. Results showed that vulnerable narcissists consistently endorsed more spiteful punishment compared to grandiose narcissists and non-narcissists, regardless of self-threat. This suggests that vulnerable narcissists have a base-line degree of antisocial self-enhancement. Spiteful punishment may allow vulnerable narcissists to covertly aggress and reassert social dominance.