Monday, November 11, 2019

Trump and Clinton supporters were more likely to say they would vandalize the car promoting a candidate they did not support, and significantly more generous and friendly otherwise

An Experimental Study of Prejudice Toward  Drivers With Political Bumper Stickers. Joy Drinnon and Amanda Largent. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, Fall2019, Vol. 24 Issue 3, p149-158.

ABSTRACT. In this experiment, we tested whether a political sticker would affect prejudice toward a hypothetical driver. An online survey was made available to MTurk workers and a small convenience sample in October 2016. Participants were shown 1 of 3 randomly assigned pictures of a car with 5 nonpolitical bumper stickers or the same car with a Trump or Clinton campaign sticker added. Participants were asked: (a) how likely they would be to vandalize the car (1 = extremely likely to 5 = extremely unlikely), (b) how much money they would put in a timed out parking meter ($0.00 to $1.00), and (c) whether they could be friends with the driver (3 = yes, 1 = no, 2 = maybe). Although 214 people completed the study, only those with plans to vote for 1 of the 2 major parties were included for analysis. Thus, results were based on 180 participants (106 Clinton/Kaine voters and 74 Trump/ Pence voters). As expected, Trump and Clinton supporters were significantly more generous, F(2, 174) = 9.57, p < .001, ηp2 = .099, and friendly, F(2, 174) = 9.6, p < .001, ηp2 = .10, toward the hypothetical owner of the car with a sticker supporting their candidate of choice and were more likely to say they would vandalize the car promoting a candidate they did not support, F(2, 174) = 4.4, p < .001, ηp2 = .048. The results confirm what was expected based on previous research on impression formation, group identity bias, and prejudice.

Keywords: bumper sticker, impression formation, prejudice, group identity

More than 15 million political bumper stickers are printed every year (“Bumper stickers,” 2016) and there is evidence that their presence affects other drivers, including increased risk of road rage (Szlemko, Benfield, Bell, Deffenbacher, & Troup, 2008). The purpose of the present study was to test the effect of a political bumper sticker on prejudice through a randomized experiment. Specifically, we expected to find differences in someone’s intentions to help, harm, or befriend a hypothetical driver based on the presence of a political campaign sticker and its relevance to the social identity of the viewer. The results of the study showed that interactions between the political sticker and the participants’ partisan views were significant for all three dependent variables. Not surprisingly, participants who said they were voting for Clinton and were shown the car with the Trump sticker were less likely to help the driver, more likely to say they might vandalize the car, and less likely to indicate they could be friends with that person. The same partisan effect was found in participants who said they were voting for Trump but were shown the car with the Clinton sticker. However, responses from participants in the control group (no partisan stickers) were unaffected. These results support assumptions that the presence of a political sticker can affect attitudes toward other drivers. Of course, thinking about harming or helping another driver is not tantamount to acting on such impulses, and these findings are not altogether surprising. Nevertheless, this study offers a new approach to investigating social psychological processes such as impression formation, social identity, group conflict, and ingroup favoritism.
First, these results support research on impression formation and Anderson’s information integration theory (Anderson, 1981), in particular. According to this theory, impressions formed by participants would be a combination of their partisan views and the weighted average of the information about the hypothetical driver. Participants in our study had no information about the driver, other than the car and its assorted stickers, and they had to rely on that information to make their judgments. We intentionally used a combination of nonpartisan and varied stickers in all three conditions so that participants would have plenty of “material” to support a variety of opinions about the driver including some socially responsible (Don’t text and drive), whimsical (Wookies need love), and one slightly hostile (Sorry I’m driving so closely in front of you). We hypothesized that the presence of a single political sticker would significantly shift perceptions of the driver in much the same way that the presence of one trait altered impressions formed by participants in Asch’s now­classic study (1946). The results did support this conclusion. The striking similarity of attitudes toward the driver in the control condition indicates that the nonpartisan stickers had very little impact, at least when comparing participants by their politics. The addition of the political sticker seems to be the factor that pushed partisans to behave differently toward the hypothetical driver. This also supports the negative trait bias (Baumeister et al., 2001) because the negativity from just the single political sticker outweighed any potential positive traits the driver might have possessed (e.g., caring about animals or the safety of others).
Second, these results support what is already known about social identity and group conflict. Identifying with a group increases people’s sense of belonging, control, meaningfulness, and selfesteem (Tajfel & Turner, 2004). Political identity is an important social group for many people, and the presence of political stickers indicates strong partisan identification or identity fusion (Morrison & Miller, 2008; Swann & Buhrmester, 2015). Moreover, if the viewers of such stickers also identify strongly with a political party, they should be more motivated to help or harm the driver, especially when there is a threat to that identity (Greenberg et al., 2016). In an election as contentious as 2016, the threat of losing control of the White House and/or Congress would be the ultimate threat against one’s political party, thus justifying prejudice.
Although outgroup hostility is one way of confirming commitment to important social groups (Knapton, Bäck, & Bäck, 2015), most prejudice comes in the form of preferential treatment toward members of an ingroup rather than from hostility toward an outgroup (Greenwald & Pettigrew, 2014). This phenomenon was demonstrated in the present study. In terms of helping, the amount of money increased substantially from that of the control condition when the hypothetical driver shared the political views of the participant and dropped off sharply when the driver did not. Harm for the driver was measured as the likelihood of vandalizing the car, and although the results were statistically significant, the number of people who said they would be extremely likely to do so was very small. The effect sizes for helping (ηp2 = .099) and befriending the driver (ηp2 = .10) were also larger than the effect size for harming (ηp2 = .048). Thus, ingroup favoritism may be the most likely consequence of seeing bumper stickers, especially because it is also easier to imagine being a friend toward those with a shared identity.

Strengths and Limitations
The present study appears to be one of the first attempts to study the social psychological effects of bumper stickers. The results indicate that bumper stickers do have the ability to shape perceptions and behaviors toward other drivers, although the study is not without limitations. The sample size was relatively small and homogenous. In addition, a more representative sample of Trump and Clinton supporters would have been ideal. Although the use of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk as a source of participants is preferable to college samples, it is not a representative sample of eligible voters in the United States (Paolacci & Chandler, 2014). Our sample was highly educated, relatively young, and more liberal, which are all characteristics that have been noted about this sampling source (Paolacci & Chandler, 2014). Arguably, different samples could lead to different results, especially if factors like age, education, and race are predictive of different levels of partisanship. Failing to control for these factors was a limitation in the present study. Moreover, because this was a first­of­its­kind study, it was designed without the benefit of prior research protocols to follow, so the methodology could certainly be improved upon. For example, there was room to include more questions in the survey, which could have provided more information such as the stereotypes held about the driver. It would also be helpful to test assumptions made concerning the need for additional stickers, as well as the content, number, and valence of the ideal assortment of stickers.

Stronger partisan identities drive stronger intentions to engage in political violence, but that this effect holds for partisans with a callous, manipulative personality structure only

Gøtzsche-Astrup, Oluf. 2019. “Partisanship and Violent Intentions in the United States.” PsyArXiv. November 11. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: We have witnessed a drastic increase in partisanship in the United States in the past decades. This increase has sparked concern about the risk that the effects may not be as benign as the positive political engagement and activism behaviors that the political science literature has traditionally investigated. This paper explicitly targets the risk that increased partisan identities may lead to stronger intentions to engage in violent political behaviors. By integrating insights form the literature on radicalization to political violence, and using three original, population representative cross-sectional and experimental studies of adult Americans (total n=3,797), this paper shows that stronger partisan identities drive stronger intentions to engage in political violence, but that this effect holds for partisans with a callous, manipulative personality structure only.

From 2018... Although society and the law often treat individuals and organizations as equivalent, people believe for-profit organizations’ behaviors are less ethical than identical individual behaviors

Organizations Appear More Unethical than Individuals. Arthur S. Jago, Jeffrey Pfeffer. Journal of Business Ethics, November 2019, Volume 160, Issue 1, pp 71–87, February 12 2018.

Abstract: Both individuals and organizations can (and do) engage in unethical behaviors. Across six experiments, we examine how people’s ethical judgments are affected by whether the agent engaging in unethical action is a person or an organization. People believe organizations are more unethical than individuals, even when both agents engage in identical behaviors (Experiments 1–2). Using both mediation (Experiments 3a–3b) and moderation (Experiment 4) analytical approaches, we find that this effect is explained by people’s beliefs that organizations produce more harm when behaving unethically, even when they do not, as well as people’s perceptions that organizations are relatively more blameworthy agents. We then explore how these judgments manifest across different kinds of organizations (Experiment 5) as well as how they produce discrepant punishments following ethically questionable business activities (Experiment 6). Although society and the law often treat individuals and organizations as equivalent, people believe for-profit organizations’ behaviors are less ethical than identical individual behaviors. We discuss the ethical implications of this discrepancy, as well as additional implications concerning reputation management, punishment, and signaling in organizational contexts.

Keywords: Corporate personhood Punishment Organizations

General Discussion

Although organizations are different in many ways from individual people, they may sometimes find themselves in similar ethical situations. In this research, however, we found that people’s judgments of organizational and individual behaviors differ in systematic ways. Across six experiments and a variety of transgressions, we found that people believed organizational behaviors were more unethical than the identical behaviors of individual people. We further found that these judgments resulted, at least in part, because observers believed that organizations created more harm from their behaviors (even when they did not) and were more blameworthy. Moreover, our studies suggested that these results were reasonably robust across different populations and over a range of different countries, although people did distinguish between for-profit companies and other organizational categories (e.g., a family business or a government agency). Finally, we found that differences in ethical judgments, not surprisingly, resulted in different degrees of willingness to punish ethical violations, such that organizations that lodged the agency for an unethical act in an individual may confront fewer and smaller sanctions than organizations that do not deflect blame onto one person. These results suggest that organizations can seek to appear less unethical not only by improving their behaviors, but also by framing individual agents as responsible for those actions. Organizations wield a great deal of economic, social, and political power in modern society. Therefore, understanding how organizations can frame behaviors as more or less ethical is of substantial importance not only to understand communication and impression management processes, but also how the public ultimately reacts—or does not react—to unethical business practices.


Across six experiments, we identified a descriptive inequality: organizations appear more unethical than individuals when both agents engage in identical behaviors. What are some normative implications of this phenomenon? On the one hand, one interpretation of these experiments is that framing individuals as responsible for organizational transgressions is unethical in practice. Instead of managing impressions or stakeholder relations by engaging in less unethical behavior (or more ethical behavior), organizations may be incentivized—at least to some extent— to instead focus their resources toward scapegoating undesirable behaviors by blaming individual actors as opposed to addressing their root causes or preventing bad behaviors from reoccurring at an institutional level. Indeed, the present experiments highlight one reason why organizations might focus on individual behaviors and apologies following unethical behavior (e.g., Oscar Munoz’s apology for United Airlines’ forcible removal of a passenger) as well as why public relations consultants and researchers tend to encourage organizations to focus on individual communications (see Hearit 1994; Kim et al. 2004; Schweitzer et al. 2015). As such, capitalizing on this phenomenon to improve stakeholder impressions might be unethical, compared to trying to address transgressions in the first place or expending resources to prevent them from reoccurring.

However, another interpretation of these results is that people are evaluating for-profit organizations in a biased way, departing from how they “should” be responding to unethical practices. As we reported in Experiment 5, participants believed that other kinds of organizations (government agency, family business) as well as individual people who exhibited similar levels of unethicality were similar; the only significant differences we found were when we compared these agents with for-profit organizations. Because there were no actual differences in the harm caused in the specific scenarios we utilized, one interpretation of these results is that people tend to depart from rationality in a way that disfavors for-profit organizations. The vast literature concerning people’s judgment and decision making (e.g., Tversky and Kahneman 1974) suggests that—while they can err—heuristics are often useful tools for navigating complex social environments. In the case of responding to for-profit organizations’ behaviors, for example, it is almost certainly the case that large firms tend to cause more harm than individuals when transgressing. In situations where they actually do not produce more harm, however, these results suggest that people might indeed “unfairly” evaluate forprofit organizations, thereby inducing potentially unethical impression management strategies that the for-profit entities otherwise would not have to engage in if people evaluated them similarly to other agents. Many different organizational agents can engage in unethical behavior, and the present experiments suggest that people can respond to such behaviors quite differently. We believe that one fruitful avenue of future research is to continue investigating these descriptive inequalities in ethical judgment to continue informing normative approaches to business ethics (and, specific to these experiments, corporate personhood).

The impact of money on science: Evidence from unexpected NCAA football outcomes shows positive, significant effects of research expenditures on articles published and patents filed

The impact of money on science: Evidence from unexpected NCAA football outcomes. Haris Tabakovic, Thomas G. Wollmann. Journal of Public Economics, Volume 178, October 2019, 104066.

• Unexpected college athletics outcomes impact university research budgets.
• As research expenditures rise, faculty publish more articles and derive more patentable ideas.
• Research expenditures also prompt increases in technology licensing revenues.
• These revenues offer convenient lower bound estimates of the value of university research.

Abstract: How productive are university research investments, and do the resulting pools of knowledge create valuable, downstream technology — or simply accumulate in the “ivory tower”? This paper uses unexpected NCAA athletic outcomes to vary research support to university faculty and estimate knowledge productivity. We find positive, significant effects of research expenditures on articles published and patents filed. Then, using data on university technology licensing income, we show that these investments produce large returns in real terms.

Keywords: ProductivityKnowledge productionResearch and developmentPatentsLicensing

Elephant behavior toward the dead: A review and insights from field observations

Elephant behavior toward the dead: A review and insights from field observations. Shifra Z. Goldenberg, George Wittemyer. Primates, November 11 2019.

Abstract: Many nonhuman animals have been documented to take an interest in their dead. A few socially complex and cognitively advanced taxa—primates, cetaceans, and proboscideans—stand out for the range and duration of behaviors that they display at conspecific carcasses. Here, we review the literature on field observations of elephants at carcasses to identify patterns in behaviors exhibited. We add to this literature by describing elephant responses to dead elephants in the Samburu National Reserve, northern Kenya. The literature review indicated that behavior of elephants at carcasses most often included approaches, touching, and investigative responses, and these occurred at varying stages of decay, from fresh carcasses to scattered and sun-bleached bones. During our own observations, we also witnessed elephants visiting and revisiting carcasses during which they engaged in extensive investigative behavior, stationary behavior, self-directed behavior, temporal gland streaming, and heightened social interactions with other elephants in the vicinity of a carcass. Elephants show broad interest in their dead regardless of the strength of former relationships with the dead individual. Such behaviors may allow them to update information regarding their social context in this highly fluid fission–fusion society. The apparent emotionality and widely reported inter-individual differences involved in elephant responses to the dead deserve further study. Our research contributes to the growing discipline of comparative thanatology to illuminate the cognition and context of nonhuman animal response to death, particularly among socially complex species.

Keywords: Cognition Death and dying Evolutionary thanatology Loxodonta africana Loxodonta cyclotis Social complexity

Expert opinion on intelligence: Most respondents supported g factor theory, and were skeptical of the accuracy and trustworthiness of the media

Survey of expert opinion on intelligence: Intelligence research, experts' background, controversial issues, and the media. Heiner Rindermann, David Becker, Thomas R. Coyle. Intelligence, Volume 78, January–February 2020, 101406.

•    The survey reports answers for up to 102 intelligence experts on 38 questions.
•    Questions examined background factors, IQ testing, and perceptions of the media.
•    Most respondents supported g factor theory.
•    Experts were skeptical of the accuracy and trustworthiness of the media.
•    Political perspective and gender correlated with experts' answers.

Abstract: Experts (Nmax = 102 answering) on intelligence completed a survey about IQ research, controversies, and the media. The survey was conducted in 2013 and 2014 using the Internet-based Expert Questionnaire on Cognitive Ability (EQCA). In the current study, we examined the background of the experts (e.g., nationality, gender, religion, and political orientation) and their positions on intelligence research, controversial issues, and the media. Most experts were male (83%) and from Western countries (90%). Political affiliations ranged from the left (liberal, 54%) to the right (conservative, 24%), with more extreme responses within the left-liberal spectrum. Experts rated the media and public debates as far below adequate. Experts with a left (liberal, progressive) political orientation were more likely to have positive views of the media (around r = |.30|). In contrast, compared to female and left (liberal) experts, male and right (conservative) experts were more likely to endorse the validity of IQ testing (correlations with gender, politics: r = .55, .41), the g factor theory of intelligence (r = .18, .34), and the impact of genes on US Black-White differences (r = .50, .48). The paper compares the results to those of prior expert surveys and discusses the role of experts' backgrounds, with a focus on political orientation and gender. An underrepresentation of viewpoints associated with experts' background characteristics (i.e., political views, gender) may distort research findings and should be addressed in higher education policy.

Almost 40% of women in our sample experienced phantom foetal kicks after their first pregnancy, up to 28-years (average 6.8-y) post-partum, nearly 50% saying that they were very "convincing"

Sasan, Disha, Phillip G. Ward, Meredith Nash, Edwina R. Orchard, Michael J. Farrell, Jakob Hohwy, and Sharna Jamadar. 2019. “‘Phantom Kicks’: Women’s Subjective Experience of Foetal Kicks After the Postpartum Period.” PsyArXiv. November 11. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: During pregnancy, a woman will attribute increased abdominal sensations to foetal movement. Surprisingly, many women report that they feel kick sensations long after the pregnancy, however this experience has never been reported in the scientific literature. Here, we show that almost 40% of women in our sample experienced phantom foetal kicks after their first pregnancy, up to 28-years (average 6.8-years) post-partum. Using a qualitative approach, we found that women describe the phantom sensations as ‘convincing’, ‘real kicks’ or ‘flutters’. Twenty-five percent of women described the experience as positive, and 27% reported felt confused or upset by the experience. Our results demonstrate that phantom kicks in the post-partum period are a widely experienced sensation, that may have implications for a woman’s post-partum mental health. The mechanism behind the phantom kick phenomenon is unknown, but may be related to changes in the somatosensory homunculus or proprioception during pregnancy.


Here, we report the first scientific description of the phenomenon of postpartum phantom kicks. In this Australian sample, almost 40% of women reported experiencing kick-like sensations following their first pregnancy. Participants who experienced the sensations, described it as "real kicks" or "flutters", with nearly 50% saying that they were very "convincing". Most women commented on the nostalgia and emotion associated with the sensations. This is unsurprising given that pregnancy is an emotional experience due to the increased female sex hormones that result in increased sensitivity in women's emotional processing systems (11). Taken together, this evidence suggests that there may be an association between the emotional relationship to the baby and the sensations of phantom kicks. Despite this, we found no significant relationship between the kick-like sensations and reports of postpartum cognitive or emotional change. We therefore argue that these sensations are unlikely to be delusions, or hallucinations, or a result of postpartum depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. Although we found no significant association between phantom kicks and postnatal depression or anxiety, our results suggest that the influence of phantom kicks on mood should not be neglected. Content analysis of women's responses to phantom kicks suggested that the experience could exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, particularly in the case of stillbirth. Additionally, the timing at which the phantom kicks begin could be detrimental to those overcoming depression or anxiety, without having any causal connection to mental health outcomes.

Potential explanations for the phantom kick phenomenon

The subjective experience of phantom kicks is apparently a common sensation post-pregnancy for many Australian women. At this stage, we can only speculate as to the origin or cause of the effect. Here, we will review relevant literature as potential avenues for future research. Attribution of 232 postpartum body recovery We considered the possibility that women could misattribute normal body recovery sensations to a phantom kick sensation. The postpartum restoration of muscle tone and connective tissue to the pre-pregnant state lasts for approximately 6 months (12) and most acute changes are resolved within the first 26 weeks (6 months) (6-months; 13). Thus, we repeated the analysis, excluding women who were 1-year post-birth and found that the frequency of phantom sensations did not change. Rather, in the full sample, 39.7% of women reported experiencing kick-like sensations. Excluding women 1-yr post-birth, 39.1% of women experience the sensations. We believe that in the months post-delivery, some sensations of phantom kicks are probably attributable to bodily recovery. However, as women continue to experience these sensations for many years, postpartum recovery cannot be the only contributor to the experience. Proprioception and Phantom Limbs Phantom kicks appear to have considerable similarities to phantom limb syndrome. Phantom limb syndrome occurs when individuals with a missing or amputated limb feel sensations that suggest the limb is still attached. People with phantom limb syndrome are often said to experience "real" movement (14) and pain (15, 16) suggesting that the phantom limb is still represented in proprioceptive body maps (15). The range of possible phantom phenomena is relatively broad (movement, pain, pins and needles, itching, pressure, etc.), suggesting that "kick" sensations could be possible. It is known that the female somatosensory cortex undergoes reorganisation following mastectomy (17). Around 33% of female mastectomy patients report phantom breast sensations, which emerge soon after amputation and continues up to 12-yrs post-surgery (18, 19). During pregnancy, the innervation of the abdominal region by ongoing foetal movement increases over the ~40week gestation, and rapidly ceases at childbirth. The rapid reduction of abdominal somatosensation at childbirth has some similarities to the rapid cessation of innervation following limb amputation. It is possible that phantom kicks may be phenomenologically like the phantom limb phenomenon.

Similarly, misattribution of normal bodily sensations might explain the phantom kick phenomenon. In the non-pregnant state, most spontaneous abdominal sensations are attributed to a digestive cause, and are likely not regularly attended to. During pregnancy, the largest and most salient 258 somatosensations in the abdominal area are quickly attributed to foetal movements. The mother pays close attention to these sensations and bonds with her baby and obstetric care providers direct her to pay close attention to any reduction in the frequency of movements (e.g., 20). Thus, the mother's self-model of her body, and the origin of sensations within it, is updated. Following childbirth, and the subsequent "resettling" of the body organs to the non-pregnant state, there is a substantial reduction in abdominal innervations. It is no longer appropriate to attribute abdominal sensations to the foetus. Perhaps women who experience phantom kicks do not re-update their conceptual model of the body following childbirth, and attribute normal (digestive) sensations to a foetus that is no longer there. Implications of Results for Peri-Natal and Post-Partum Care Due to our sampling method, we cannot make statements of prevalence of phantom kicks in the postpartum period, but we can say that phantom kicks appear to be a common experience among women following the birth of their first child. In our sample, two in every five women experienced the phenomenon. The experience was described as negative for some women, during a period of high vulnerability for mood disorder and mental illness. Around 16% of participants commented that the experience of phantom kicks was negatively impacting on their wellbeing. Many women described a lack of information and expertise being made available to assuage their fears during a crucial time. The field of medical science should address this shortcoming and inform health care providers of the potential risk that unexpected and unexplained phantom kick sensations may pose.

Women are routinely directed to pay attention to foetal kick rate during late pregnancy, either through the media (e.g., 21), or as directed by their health care provider (20). For example, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (20) guidelines state that .Women should be advised of the need to be aware of foetal movements up to and including the onset of labour and should report any decrease or cessation of foetal movements to their maternity unit. and that "A significant reduction or sudden alteration in foetal movement is a potentially important clinical sign." Our results raise an intriguing question: if women report sensations of foetal movement postpartum in the absence of a 283 foetus, how reliable is the perception of foetal kicks during pregnancy? In other words, are all maternal perceptions of foetal kicks attributable to the foetus? Early research using Doppler ultrasound suggested that not all maternal perceptions of movement were detectable using ultrasound: Johnson, Jordan, and Paine (22) found that 12% of maternal sensations of foetal movement were undetected by ultrasound. Recent studies with newer technology show great individual variability in maternal perception of foetal movement, between 2.4 to 81% (23). An interesting corollary of the current study is that perhaps not all sensations attributed to foetal movement during pregnancy is due to the foetus. This result therefore has implications for the reliability of maternal perception as an indicator for reduced foetal movement and subsequently foetal health. It may be useful in future studies of maternal perceptions of antenatal foetal kicks to use a psychophysiological approach (e.g., Signal Detection theory, 24) to systematically quantify the occurrence of hits, misses, false positives and false negatives of abdominal interoceptive signals.

In sum, our study suggests that up to 2 in 5 women experience sensations of foetal movement long after childbirth and the postpartum period. These sensations may have implications for the mother's mental health during a vulnerable time. We have explored potential explanations for the phenomenon to assist in generating hypotheses for further research. Through this study, we hope to build awareness relating to phantom kicks that will ensure that women are given the appropriate information and care they require. Obstetric, gynaecological, and mental health clinicians specialising in postpartum care should be aware of the potential impact that phantom kicks may have on their clients, especially those that experience abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, or traumatic birth.

Narcissistic people had less warmth toward successful & unsuccessful others; but this reaction was eliminated after controlling for narcissistic people's assumptions that other people are less reactive to success & failure

Why are narcissistic people cold? A cognitive account emphasizing the perceived momentousness of successes and failures. William Hart, Gregory K. Tortoriello, Kyle Richardson. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 153, January 15 2020, 109596.

•    Narcissism related to less self-reported reactivity after successes and failures
•    Narcissism related to rating targets as less reactive after successes and failures
•    Narcissism related to less concern for a target after failures
•    Narcissism related to less happiness for a target after successes

Abstract: It seems generally accepted that people with elevated narcissism levels (“narcissistic people,” for short) are interpersonally colder. Most often, this coldness has been presumed to originate from “dark” mechanisms or deficiencies. We departed from these focal explanations; instead, we tested whether “narcissistic coldness,” defined here as the narcissistic tendency to feel less happy for successful others and less concern for unsuccessful others, could follow from an apparently innocent process. Specifically, we proposed that narcissistic people anticipate that success and failure is generally less momentous and (a) assume others are less affected by most success and failure and (b) often feel less happy for successful others and less concerned for unsuccessful others. Findings across three studies were consistent with these propositions. Narcissistic people anticipated that both the self and others will be less reactive to successes and failures (Studies 1–3); moreover, although narcissistic people indicated less warmth toward successful and unsuccessful others, these relations were eliminated after controlling for narcissistic people's assumptions that other people are less reactive to success and failure (Study 3). Hence, narcissistic coldness could, in part, have its origin in what we believe is reasonable disagreement about the momentous nature of events.

6. General discussion

Why are narcissistic (vs. non-narcissistic) people interpersonally colder? Common explanations allude to the presence of psychopathology (e.g., a mental deficit) or darkness (e.g., extreme selfishness and low concern for others) associated with narcissism. Regardless of whether these explanations have merit, here, we proposed and tested a theory which did not invoke either of these constructs: Narcissistic people consider success and failure as less momentous. This consideration is a subjective, potentially reasonable, personal reaction that apparently manifests in beliefs that others (who succeed and fail) are less reactive and, naturally, less warmth toward these others. The theory is complex enough to unpack into ideas that had, up to this point, yet to be explicitly tested. Findings from three studies supported these ideas.

In Study 1, narcissistic people indicated that the self would be less hedonically affected by success and failure. This finding accords with the extended agency model's (Campbell & Foster, 2007) postulate regarding narcissistic people's habituating to success and failure and, therefore, anticipating successes and failures as more diminutive than non-narcissistic people. It also coincides with findings that narcissism relates to trait-level indicators of indifference such as reduced fear of negative evaluation and reduced need for validation (Hart, Adams et al., 2017; Glover et al., 2012); furthermore, it is consistent with evidence that narcissism relates to reduced self-reported failure reactivity (Tortoriello & Hart, 2018). In Studies 2 and 3, narcissistic people assumed that another person, like the self, would be less hedonically affected by success and failure. We believe that narcissistic people may have projected their own subjective feelings of indifference for success and failure onto others and also felt less warmth toward these people. Also, in Study 3, narcissism was unrelated to outcomes of reduced warmth after accounting for estimates of other's reactivity. In other words, hypothetically, if narcissistic (vs. non-narcissistic) people did not assume others were less reactive, then narcissistic and nonnarcissistic people would be about equally interpersonally warm (i.e., just as happy for successful people and just as concerned for unsuccessful people). Critically, exploratory analyses examining relations between narcissistic facets (EE, GE, LA) and/or processes (admiration and rivalry) with outcomes showed highly similar relations as when using the unidimensional narcissism indicator (the NPI); such consistency suggests our theory is highly relevant to conventional narcissism constructs, generally.

Broadly, the present findings cohere with other work suggesting that socially-undesirable outcomes associated with so-called dark-personality constructs (e.g., narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy; Paulhus & Williams, 2002) may not always be the result of malicious intent or psychopathological deficits; occasionally, apparently “dark” outcomes may reflect reasonable disagreements that people high vs. low in dark personalities can have about social realities. For example, Tortoriello, Hart, and Richardson (2019) connected relations between dark personalities and heightened use of derogatory language to disagreements about human fragility; people high and low in dark personalities acknowledged that derogatory language is psychologically harmful, but people lower in dark personalities perceived the intent of this language as more harmful (i.e., they perceive people as more fragile). Hart, Adams, and Burton (2016) showed that divergences between narcissistic and non-narcissistic people on bragging can be traced, in part, to disagreements about how much other people value agentic traits and respond positively to self-promotion. To be sure, perhaps dark personalities or behavior may sometimes be associated with malevolence, but, other times, the different outcomes associated with these personalities can merely indicate that reasonable people can disagree about social realities (e.g., how reactive is a person?) and, in turn, respond differently. We think this perspective on dark personality is sometimes neglected but could potentially yield novel insights and provide a more well-rounded understanding of people with sociallyundesirable tendencies.

Future research is required to address shortcomings of our studies. First, although the present studies included well-powered samples utilizing both undergraduate (Study 1) and MTurk participants (Studies 2 and 3), with the latter being rather representative of the US population on personality constructs (McCredie & Morey, 2018), it is unclear how our findings may generalize to other sample frames (e.g., clinical samples) and cultures. For example, across both MTurk and college student samples, the vast majority of the participants scored below the midpoint of the NPI (i.e., ‘20’), which limits our capacity to state that our results apply to populations with absolutely-elevated NPI scores. Second, all measures were self-report, which could enable dishonest or inaccurate responding (e.g., social-desirability response biases); this point is a particularly important consideration for our MTurk samples. Indeed, on occasion, computer programs have masqueraded as MTurk “participants” by emitting random responses (Kennedy et al., 2018). Although random responses are unlikely to yield the theoretically-anticipated effects we obtained, they could result in under-estimation of these theoretically-anticipated effects. Future work may strengthen the present findings by utilizing stricter control over this problem (Kennedy et al., 2018); also, future research might consider using observer reports of narcissism and warmth constructs.

Third, it is critical to acknowledge that our findings do not prove the existence of an egocentric process influencing narcissistic coldness. The evidence, gathered over different studies, shows that narcissistic people assume that success and failure will be less momentous for the self and others, and these assumptions made about others relates to reduced warmth toward these others. Although such evidence is arguably important in its own right, the evidence does not definitively prove that the self's anticipated reactions to success and failure are attributed to others. Nonetheless, as we have discussed, egocentric reasoning processes are utilized in mentalizing (Nickerson, 1999), and the use of egocentric reasoning processes were facilitated—if not ensured—by the design of the study materials (e.g., the target being judged was nondescript). That being said, future work is needed to test the role of egocentric reasoning processes. For example, the present relations between narcissism and warmth should be diminished somewhat if narcissistic and non-narcissistic people were forced, via an experimental manipulation, to agree on the target's reactions to success or failure. Fourth, it is too early to claim that the present data are of practical significance. The present work was designed to validate a theoretical statement, but future work is needed to examine the theory's practical significance and scope. Features of the situation might exert such strong reactions on warmth reactions that beliefs about others' reactivity are rendered moot. For example, beliefs about a target's anticipated reactivity might be less relevant to predicting warmth when this target is a bitter enemy (vs. casual acquaintance).

In closing, narcissism is considered part of a constellation of personalities that are presumed to represent the human propensity for malevolence (Paulhus & Williams, 2002); obviously, the present study cannot settle whether narcissistic people are malevolent or simply misunderstood, but it could suggest a rather innocent explanation for some instances of narcissistic coldness.