No announcement yet.

Narcissists and an introduction to victimhood - "Exceptionalism" is a hallmark of narcissism

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Narcissists and an introduction to victimhood - "Exceptionalism" is a hallmark of narcissism

  • #2

    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

    Signaling Virtuous Victimhood as Indicators of Dark Triad Personalities

    Ekin Ok, Yi Qian, Brendan Strejcek, and Karl Aquino Online First Publication, July 2, 2020.

    We investigate the consequences and predictors of emitting signals of victimhood and virtue. In our first three studies, we show that the virtuous victim signal can facilitate nonreciprocal resource transfer from others to the signaler. Next, we develop and validate a victim signaling scale that we combine with an established measure of virtue signaling to operationalize the virtuous victim construct. We show that individuals with Dark Triad traits—Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy—more frequently signal virtuous victimhood, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables that are commonly associated with victimization in Western societies.

    In Study 5, we show that a specific dimension of Machiavellianism—amoral manipulation—and a form of narcissism that reflects a person’s belief in their superior prosociality predict more frequent virtuous victim signaling. Studies 3, 4, and 6 test our hypothesis that the frequency of emitting virtuous victim signal predicts a person’s willingness to engage in and endorse ethically questionable behaviors, such as lying to earn a bonus, intention to purchase counterfeit products and moral judgments of counterfeiters, and making exaggerated claims about being harmed in an organizational context.



    The obligation to alleviate others’ pain can be found in most of the world’s moral systems. It also appears to be built into the structure of the mind by evolution, as evidenced by the human tendency to feel distress at signs of suffering. It is therefore not surprising that many people are motivated to help perceived victims of misfortune or disadvantage. But the downside of this proclivity is that it can also lead people to be easily persuaded that all victim signals are accurate signals, particularly when they perceive the alleged victim as being a “good person.”

    When this occurs, well-meaning people might allocate their material and social resources to those who are neither victims nor virtuous, which necessarily diverts resources from those who are legitimately in need. Effective altruism requires the ability to differentiate between false and true victims. Credulous acceptance of all virtuous victim signals as genuine can also enable and reward fraudulent claims, particularly by those with antisocial personality traits. Our work raises this possibility and by doing so it advances our understanding of how the moral goals of those who seek to minimize human suffering can be most effectively pursued.