Collective narcissism and its social consequences: The Bad and the Ugly

Golec de Zavala, Agnieszka and Lantos, Dorottya. 2020. Collective narcissism and its social consequences: The Bad and the Ugly. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29(3), pp. 273-278. ISSN 0963-7214 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Collective narcissism is a belief that one’s own group (the in-group) is exceptional but not sufficiently recognized by others. It is the form of ‘in-group love’ associated with ‘out-group hate’. In contrast to private collective self-esteem (a belief that the in-group is of high value), it consistently predicts prejudice, retaliatory intergroup aggression, and rejoicing in suffering of others. The pervasive association between collective narcissism and intergroup hostility is driven by a biased perception of intergroup situations that serves to protect undermined self-worth and frustrated personal entitlement invested in the in-group’s image. Collective narcissism is associated with hypersensitivity to provocation and the belief that only hostile revenge is a desirable and rewarding response. It arises when the traditional group-based hierarchies are challenged and empowers extremists as well as populist politicians. Instead of alleviating, it re-fuels a sense of threatened self-importance. The association between collective narcissism and intergroup hostility is weakened by experiences fortifying emotional resilience (e.g., positive identification with a community).

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Work on this article was supported by National Science Centre grant
2017/26/A/HS6/00647 awarded to Agnieszka Golec de Zavala.


collective narcissism, collective self-esteem, prejudice, intergroup hostility, populism

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8 January 2020Accepted
4 June 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

10 Feb 2020 09:38

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14 Jun 2021 16:37

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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