How power can create a narcissist
A new study has shown that certain people are susceptible to narcissistic behaviour when endowed with a position of social power.
This study sheds new light on the cause-effect relationship between power and narcissism. Previously it was thought that narcissists gravitated towards positions of power, however this study suggests that being in a position of power can also create a narcissist.
The researchers from the University of Melbourne recruited 206 men and women, took saliva samples from them and then assigned half of them to positions of power in a group task. These individuals were given the power to control others in the group and the rewards of the task.
Using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory as a measure for narcissism, the researchers found that those with a higher baseline level of testosterone for their gender showed an increase in the exploitative-entitlement aspect of narcissism when put in a position of power.
“Power increased narcissism only among those with high-baseline testosterone – people who want to achieve and retain positions of power.” Associate Professor Nicole Mead told Pursuit.
“While power doesn’t turn everyone into a destructive tyrant, it has pernicious effects when it gets into the hands of those who want it most,”
The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
Image: Andrew Neel