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. 2010 Jan;98(1):132-45.
doi: 10.1037/a0016338.

Why Are Narcissists So Charming at First Sight? Decoding the Narcissism-Popularity Link at Zero Acquaintance

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Why Are Narcissists So Charming at First Sight? Decoding the Narcissism-Popularity Link at Zero Acquaintance

Mitja D Back et al. J Pers Soc Psychol. .

Abstract

On the basis of a realistic behavioral approach, the authors showed that narcissists are popular at zero acquaintance and aimed to explain why this is the case. In Study 1, a group of psychology freshmen (N = 73) judged each other on the basis of brief self-introductions using a large round-robin design (2,628 dyads). Three main findings were revealed: First, narcissism leads to popularity at first sight. Second, the aspects of narcissism that are most maladaptive in the long run (exploitativeness/entitlement) proved to be most attractive at zero acquaintance. Third, an examination of observable verbal and nonverbal behaviors as well as aspects of physical appearance provided an explanation for why narcissists are more popular at first sight. Results were confirmed using judgments of uninvolved perceivers under 3 different conditions for which the amount of available information was varied systematically: (a) full information (video and sound, Study 2), (b) nonverbal information only (video only, Study 3), or (c) physical information only (still photograph of clothing, Study 4). These findings have important implications for understanding the inter- and intrapersonal dynamics of narcissism.

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