Seeing my world in a million little pieces: narcissism, self-construal, and cognitive-perceptual style

J Pers. 2009 Aug;77(4):1197-228. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00579.x. Epub 2009 May 19.


In 4 studies we examine the association between narcissism, self-construal, and cognitive-perceptual style, hypothesizing that high self-focus in combination with low other-focus (i.e., social atomization) is related to an analytic cognitive-perceptual style. Participants completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, the Self-Construal Scale, and measures of cognitive-perceptual style such as the Analysis-Holism Scale, the Embedded Figures Test, a visual illusion test, and a measure of the representativeness heuristic. We found evidence for a decontextualized cognitive-perceptual style in socially atomized participants, which included those high in narcissism and also those who had a combination of high independent and low interdependent self-construal. A meta-analytic integration of our findings found that narcissism was positively related to independent and negatively related to interdependent self-construal, and mediation analyses found some evidence that the relationship between self-construal and cognitive-perceptual style is partially mediated by narcissism.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Narcissism*
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept*
  • Self-Assessment
  • Social Identification
  • Social Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult