Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Social Psychology


Faculty of Human and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Christian Jordan

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Justin Cavallo

Advisor Role

committee member

Third Advisor

Pamela Sadler

Advisor Role

committee member


Narcissism is associated with highly competitive and exploitative behaviour. This thesis examines the possibility that these behaviours may be, in part, due to a bias to perceive a high amount of social conflict, thus promoting exploitative behaviour through greed or to avoid being taken advantage of. Two studies tested this possibility through a game format – one a novel anagram task, and the other a Commons Dilemma task. Results across both studies suggest that individuals high in grandiose narcissism perceive a higher amount of conflict than individuals low in grandiose narcissism, regardless of the degree of conflict inherently present. Study 2 additionally found that those high in grandiose narcissism behaved more exploitatively and were motivated by both the desire to maximize their own profits and the belief that others would do the same, although this effect, was primarily driven by antagonism. Results for vulnerable narcissism were more mixed, with a positive relationship to perceptions of conflict when the degree of conflict was ambiguous but no relation to exploitative behaviour in a Commons Dilemma. Combined, these studies provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that individuals high in grandiose narcissism, and particularly antagonism, are biased to perceive higher amounts of social conflict and behave exploitatively.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season