Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Program Name/Specialization

Social Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Christian Jordan

Advisor Role

Doctoral Supervisor


We examine the novel proposition that disagreement on matters of opinion may threaten narcissists’ self-esteem and cause them to express dismissiveness of differing opinions and hostility toward the dissenter, a phenomenon we refer to as narcissistic intolerance. In three studies, participants ostensibly read about an earlier participant’s opinion on a painting (Studies 1 & 2, MTurk samples) or TV show (Study 3, undergraduate sample) that agreed or disagreed with the participant’s own opinion. Participants then wrote a response to the opinion, as though they were responding on an anonymous Internet message board. We coded participants’ responses, finding that participants higher in narcissism expressed significantly more intolerance in response to disagreement than agreement, compared to less narcissistic individuals. However, when narcissists’ self-esteem was affirmed by writing about a personally important value, they expressed no more intolerance than non-narcissists toward the person who disagreed with them (Study 2). In addition, whereas initial disagreement expressed with civility evoked greater intolerance from narcissists, disagreement expressed with incivility evoked greater intolerance from participants regardless of their levels of narcissism (Study 3). These findings may have implications for understanding online verbal aggression such as flaming.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season