probably know some people who fit this personality profile: witty, outgoing and
fun. They like to dominate the conversation, and after a while, they can be
hard to be around. They're called narcissists. Their personality trait got its
name from the Greek myth about a man who fell in love with his own reflection.
new study finds that many of our political and business leaders are
first instance of meeting a narcissist, they're likable, they're charming,
they're fun, so people rate them initially as pretty attractive people,"
says psychologist Amy Brunell with the University of Ohio, who researches
narcissism and the narcissistic.
Brunell did some studies on the trait. She gave several groups of volunteer
subjects a personality test that rated each person's level of narcissism. Then
Brunell had the groups go into a room to solve a problem together. The most
narcissistic people consistently emerged as the leaders of the groups. Others
in the room also judged them to be their leader.
the third study, the rating of leadership came from experts who were actually
trained to observe interactions in this group discussion," Brunell says.
"They were asked, 'Who was the leader?' and even these experts said that
leadership was highest among the more narcissistic participants."
has some narcissistic traits, but Brunell says problems emerge when
someone is excessively narcissistic.
tend to have volatile, risky decision-making," she says. "They tend
to not listen as much as others. They tend to 'know it all.'"
narcissists will do is they will try to use others for their own self-gain. So
if you're in a situation – let's say in a workplace – with a narcissist, and
you're doing a group project and the project goes great, then they take all the
credit," she says. "If the project doesn't go so well, they blame you
becomes a problem in society and in business, where narcissists frequently end
up in positions of power. Brunell says that's why it's important to have limits
on power, because if there aren't, a narcissist is the type of person who might
they think they're going to get caught, that will keep them in line,"
Brunell says. "But otherwise, they're going to, you know, they're gonna
research appears in the journal Personality and Social Psychology.