The endorsement of spiteful and strategic punishment for a third-party transgressor among vulnerable & grandiose narcissists following self-esteem threat
Participants consisted of 493 individuals recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program. Thirty participants were excluded from analyses for failing the suspicion probe and seven were excluded for not responding to all MCNS items, leaving a final sample of 456 Measures include: Maladaptive Covert Narcissism Scale (MCNS; Cheek et al., 2013): a measure of vulnerable narcissism (e.g., “I dislike being with a group unless I know that I am appreciated by at least one of those present”). Participants were asked to rate how representative each statement is of themselves from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI; Raskin & Hall, 1979). The NPI is a measure of the grandiose dimension of narcissism. Participants were randomly assigned to either complete a task in which they received negative feedback (via false feedback on Remote Associates Test items) or a neutral task (i.e., a control condition). Following the vignette, participants read a series of possible punishments for James, including four spiteful punishments (e.g., “I wish someone would ‘put James in his place’ and make him look foolish in front of everyone”) and four strategic punishments (e.g., “James should be required to see a psychologist who specializes in office bullying; the goal would be to help James see how his behavior affects others.”). Participants were asked to rate their endorsement of each using a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). The main hypotheses were that people high in vulnerable narcissism would report greater endorsement for spiteful punishment (Hypothesis 1) and less endorsement of strategic punishment (Hypothesis 2) following a self-threat (vs. no threat). Self-threat was not expected to affect the endorsement of spiteful or strategic punishment among people low in narcissism.
Steps to reproduce
NPI items were re-coded such that the narcissistic response was always scored as 1, and the non-narcissistic response was always scored as 0. The NPI was divided into three subscales based on Ackerman and colleagues (2011): Leadership/Authority (L/A; e.g., “I like to have authority over other people”; Cronbach’s α = .75), Grandiose Exhibitionism (GE; e.g., “I will usually show off if I get the chance”; Cronbach’s α = .82), and Entitlement/Exploitativeness (E/E; e.g., “I will never be satisfied until I get what I deserve”; Cronbach’s α = .69). All three NPI subscales were positively skewed and were log-transformed. MCNS scores were totaled across items. Endorsement ratings were summed across the four punishment items for a total spiteful punishment score and a total strategic punishment score. Both spiteful and strategic punishments showed good reliability (Cronbach’s α = .90 and .82, respectively). In order to test hypothesis 1: that people high in vulnerable narcissism would report greater endorsement for spiteful punishment after a self-threat (compared to no-threat), a hierarchical linear regression predicting endorsement of spiteful punishment was conducted entering Condition (dummy-coded, 0 = no-threat, 1 = self-threat), MCNS, L/A (log-transformed), GE (log-transformed), and E/E (log-transformed) in Step 1, and entering the Condition x narcissism measures interactions in Step 2. In order to test hypothesis 2: that participants high in vulnerable narcissism would report less endorsement of strategic punishment following a self-threat (vs. no threat), a hierarchical linear regression predicting endorsement of strategic punishment was conducted entering Condition (dummy-coded, 0 = no-threat, 1 = self-threat), MCNS, L/A (log-transformed), GE (log-transformed), and E/E (log-transformed) in Step 1, and entering the Condition x narcissism measures interactions in Step 2.