University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) > Low Self-Esteem Predicts Out-group Derogation via Collective Narcissism, but this Relationship Is Obscured by In-group Satisfaction

Low Self-Esteem Predicts Out-group Derogation via Collective Narcissism, but this Relationship Is Obscured by In-group Satisfaction

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According to social identity theory, low self-esteem motivates group members to derogate out-groups, thus achieving positive in-group distinctiveness and boosting self-esteem. According to the Frankfurt School and status politics theorists, low self-esteem motivates collective narcissism (i.e., resentment for insufficient external recognition of the in-group’s importance), which predicts out-group derogation. Empirical support for these propositions has been weak. We revisit them addressing whether (1) low self-esteem predicts out-group derogation via collective narcissism, and (2) this indirect relationship is only observed after partialling out the positive overlap between collective narcissism and in-group satisfaction (i.e., belief that the in-group is of high value and a reason to be proud). Results based on cross-sectional (Study 1, N = 427) and longitudinal (Study 2, N = 853) designs indicated that self-esteem is uniquely, negatively linked to collective narcissism and uniquely, positively linked to in-group satisfaction. Results based on cross-sectional (Study 3, N = 506; Study 4, N = 1059; Study 5, N = 471), longitudinal (Study 6, N = 410), and experimental (Study 7, N = 253) designs corroborated these inferences. Further, they revealed that the positive overlap between collective narcissism and in-group satisfaction obscures the link between self-esteem and out-group derogation.

Agnieszka Golec de Zavala is a Reader, Goldsmith, University of London and a Head of the PrejudiceLab (collectivenarcissism.com). She is a visiting professor at University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poznań, Poland and ISCTE -CIS, Lisbon, Portugal. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and a Marie Curie Fellow. Her research is driven by a question: What makes people prejudiced and what makes them fight in conflicts? She has developed research on the concept of collective narcissism – the belief that one’s own group is exceptional but not sufficiently recognized by others – that predicts retaliatory intergroup hostility, prejudice, revengefulness, political radicalisation and belief in conspiracy theories. In her recent research she examines motivational underpinnings of collective narcissism. She also examines how reactions to intergroup exclusion are moderated by collective narcissism. PrejudiceLab uses methods of neuroscience and physiology to assess the mechanisms underlying those reactions..

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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