Negative evaluation of the group increases collective narcissism and intergroup hostility under intergroup threat.

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Golec de Zavala, Agnieszka
  • Publisher: British Academy

Results of 3 experimental studies in two countries indicate that collective narcissism can be experimentally manipulated. Collective narcissism is an emotional investment in a belief in exaggerated greatness of an in-group (Golec de Zavala et al. 2009). It increases when people face negative evaluation of the in-group (e.g. national group or university peers). This effect is independent of initial identification with the group. Momentary increase in collective narcissism results in retaliatory out-group negativity under intergroup threat. Thus, the present results replicate and extend the previous findings that individual levels of narcissistic identification with an in-group increase sensitivity to and hostile responses to intergroup threat. Unlike collective self-esteem that does not change in response to in-group evaluations, collective narcissism is unstable and defensive positive regard for the in-group. Study 2 indicates that it increases because the negative evaluation of the in-group is perceived as offence. Study 2 also shows that pairing negative evaluation with positive assessment of the in-group on a different dimension prevents the increase in collective narcissism. Therefore, it reduces a chance of escalation of intergroup hostility.
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