How Narcissists Judge Others
It’s a big pet peeve of mine when I see someone being completely vain.
When people think they’re the center of the universe, there’s a guttural instinct that makes me dislike them on human level.
Okay, maybe that’s a little strong. But I am pretty put off by narcissistic attitudes. Generally, they aren’t generally concerned with others feelings. Or think about how their actions can affect others.
I can’t say for sure, but I would guess most people share my view.
So when I ran across a study that looked at how narcissists rated a person’s narcissistic traits, I was intrigued.
Apparently, they don’t care about other people’s social traits. Which…..actually would make a lot of sense.
A team of 4 researchers set out to examine the relationship of how vain people rate another person’s narcissistic traits. To do this they ran 3 different experiments.
The first was pretty straightforward. They took 75 psychology students and gave them personality tests. This was done to see who had narcissistic traits and who didn’t. All participants then rated 16 fictitious people – 8 who were vain and 8 who weren’t.
They found that most everyone rated narcissistic traits as unfavorable. But those subjects who were narcissists themselves, had less extreme opinions. However, they also rated the non-narcissists as less favorable than others. To them, the bad wasn’t so bad and the good wasn’t so good.
The second experiment built upon on the first.
82 students were again asked to rate narcissistic traits. In this case, though, they were only going to rate two hypothetical people. 1 narcissist and 1 non-narcissist.
However, the hypothetical characters this time were much more detailed. In the descriptions, about 20 different traits were used to describe each person.
The results were the same as the first experiment. The narcissists rating the characters rated the narcissistic character unfavorably – and the other favorably. Once again, though, their opinions were less extreme for good or bad.
Unlikeable Social Media
The final experiment used everyone’s favorite social media platform. Facebook.
This time the students would rated made-up Facebook social profiles.
In a bit of a twist, every participant rated each one of the profiles as negative. Not a positive one in the group. Apparently there wasn’t a single likeable Facebook profile.
But while every single profile was seen as unfavorable, it was the narcissists who rated them slightly better. Still negative, but just less negative.
The details of their study have been published in the journal Social Psychological And Personality Science.
Only On Paper
Another recent study also claims that narcissists rate narcissistic traits with less disdain. But they also had a slightly different finding.
The research used 370 subjects. And like the first study, they rated narcissistic traits.
While their findings agreed with the first study, they also ran a second experiment. They had people act out narcissistic traits directed toward the raters.
They found that a real life behavior demonstration had the same effect for both narcissistic and other raters. They both found them equally unlikeable.
What does that mean?
That means that on paper – they will rate narcissistic traits more favorable than most. But when it comes down to a person giving them some “in your face” narcissistic behavior, they react just like anyone else.
Typical right!? Maybe that just means that narcissists can be a little hypocritical as well.
Spot the Narcissist
So what’s going on here?
The researchers think maybe it’s a self-esteem thing. A way to put a more positive spin on traits that they already have. Thinking that they’re own traits aren’t so bad. Other psycholgy research has shown that people like others who are similar in personality. This could also be the reason.
It could be that they care less, in general, about other people personalities. It wouldn’t be so far fetched to think that a vain person is primarily concerned about themselves. Therefore they have less positive and less negative reactions than most people.
This might actually be a good way to spot someone with narcissistic tendencies.
If someone doesn’t think real highly of a particular person – when most others do – it could be a sign. On the flip side, they may also think of rude people as “not so bad”.
Not that I’d recommend trying to analyze someone based off how they socially judge others. That seems like typical rude narcissistic behavior. Besides, we humans can barely judge our own abilities and traits.
But in theory, it might be an indication of a narcissistic personality.