Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Dr. Christian Jordan
Cooperative behaviour is integral to modern society. Individuals who are high in trait narcissism have personality traits that appear inconsistent with cooperation, such as selfishness, competitiveness, and antagonism. Research has yet to determine whether these individuals, when given the opportunity, are less likely to engage in cooperative behaviour, to the detriment of others. The present studies investigated the effect of several distinct expressions of trait narcissism on cooperation in social dilemmas and potential underlying causes of non-cooperation in narcissistic individuals. In Study 1, participants (N = 355) were randomly assigned to one of three prisoner’s dilemma conditions (control, low conflict, high conflict), and completed measures of trait narcissism, perceptions of conflict, acquisitiveness, and apprehension. We found that grandiose narcissism and antagonism were negatively related to cooperation regardless of condition. In Study 2, participants (N = 531) were randomly assigned to one of three social dilemma payoff structures (prisoner’s dilemma, stag hunt, chicken game), and completed measures of trait narcissism, perceptions of conflict, and competitive worldviews. Grandiose narcissism, vulnerable narcissism and antagonism were negatively related to cooperation across all conditions. We found preliminary evidence that competitive worldviews contribute to non-cooperation in narcissistic individuals. Overall, the present studies suggest that those high in trait narcissism cooperate less and that a more competitive worldview is a possible reason for non-cooperation.
Chinn, Christopher, "How Narcissism Relates to (Non-) Cooperation" (2022). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2497.
Available for download on Monday, September 01, 2025