On Self-Aggrandizement and Anger: A Temporal Analysis of Narcissism and Affective Reactions to Success and Failure

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Abstract

Narcissists are thought to display extreme affective reactions to positive and negative information about the self. Two experiments were conducted in which high- and low-narcissistic individuals, as defined by the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), completed a series of tasks in which they both succeeded and failed. After each task, participants made attributions for their performance and reported their moods. High-NPI participants responded with greater changes in anxiety, anger, and self-esteem. Low self-complexity was examined, but it neither mediated nor moderated affective responses. High-NPI participants tended to attribute initial success to ability, leading to more extreme anger responses and greater self-esteem reactivity to failure. A temporal sequence model linking self-attribution and emotion to narcissistic rage is discussed.

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