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Honestly Arrogant or Simply Misunderstood? Narcissists' Awareness of their Narcissism

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Narcissists describe themselves as narcissistic (e.g., arrogant). Do they have self-insight, or do they simply misunderstand the behavioral manifestations or consequences of narcissism? With two samples (undergraduates N = 86, 65% female, M age = 20; MTurk N = 234, 62% female, M age = 35), the current paper investigates whether narcissism is associated with genuine self-insight. Findings suggest that individuals higher in narcissism: (a) agree with close others (informant N = 217) that they behave in explicitly narcissistic ways (e.g., brag); (b) view narcissism as an individually desirable trait but not necessarily as a socially desirable trait; and (c) strive to be more narcissistic. Thus, it appears that narcissists truly grasp the behavioral and social significance of their narcissism.
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Keywords: Interpersonal perception; Narcissism; Personality; Self-knowledge

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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