Are the relations between narcissism and behavioral indices of aggression confounded by competition?
Hyatt, Courtland S
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Narcissism has been linked to lab-based measures of aggression but less is known about the role that a competitive context may play in this relation. The goal of the current study was to test the role of competition in understanding the relation between narcissism and related traits (i.e., psychopathy) and aggression by manipulating cues of competition. Participants (N=220) completed questionnaires to assess trait narcissism and associated variables. In a separate session, participants were randomly assigned to interact with an ostensible confederate under the guise of either a competitive or non-competitive interaction, and then were given the opportunity to administer electric shocks to them. Results suggest that the antagonistic and grandiose features of narcissism were significantly related to aggression in both conditions. However, no significant interaction effects between narcissism and condition in the hypothesized direction were found. Findings are discussed in terms of the importance of antagonism in predicting aggression.