Falling off the self-imposed pedestal – How audience presence and feedback affect aggressive responding in narcissists


  1. Ferriday, C.
  2. Vartanian, O
  3. Mandel, D.R.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
Aggression can be a source of conflict as well as a means of dealing with conflict in interpersonal, national, and international domains. The authors investigated how personal and environmental factors interact to influence expressions of aggression in an interpersonal context. This investigation was motivated by two lines of evidence. First, people are more likely to aggress and do so more severely when they are insulted in front of an audience, in order to re-establish and project positive self-appraisal. Second, persons with higher levels of narcissism react to threat more aggressively than those with lower levels of narcissism. The present experiment combined these two strands of research and tested the hypothesis that participants with higher levels of narcissism would be more aggressive than participants with lower levels of narcissism when they imagine receiving negative feedback in the presence of others. The result of a three-way interaction supported this hypothesis. The implications of this finding for the Canadian Forces in terms of mitigating aggression and profiling leaders of adversarial groups are discussed.

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Aggression, narcissism, self-relevant feedback, psychosocial effects
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2009-215 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Nov 2010
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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