Journal article

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Distress and retaliatory aggression in response to witnessing intergroup exclusion are greater on higher levels of collective narcissism.


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  • 15.06.2021
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  • Psychophysiology. - Wiley. - 2021, vol. 58, no. 9, p. e13879
English The negative consequences of personal exclusion have been demonstrated by multiple studies. Less is known about the consequences of witnessing one's own group being excluded by other groups, although studies suggest exclusion can be experienced vicariously and negatively affects members of the excluded group. Results of the present lab-based experiment (N = 153) indicate, in line with our predictions, that witnessing intergroup exclusion (a national majority excluded by a minority, manipulated by an adapted intergroup Cyberball paradigm) produced a sense of personal exclusion. It also increased self-reported distress and behavioral aggression measured in the Taylor Aggression Paradigm), especially among participants high on collective narcissism: a belief that the exaggerated greatness of the in-group is not sufficiently appreciated by others. Contrary to expectations, a short mindful decentration intervention (instructing participants to observe thoughts and emotions as transient mental products without engaging with them) delivered while participants were witnessing intergroup exclusion (vs. inclusion) produced changes in heart rate variability reactivity indicative of emotional arousal, especially among collective narcissists. We concluded that collective narcissism is associated with distress in the face of intergroup exclusion, aggressive retaliation, and in consequence, it is a risk-factor predisposing group members to stress-related health and psychosocial problems. Furthermore, a mindful decentration, despite being an effective strategy to reduce maladaptive stress in most people, may be counterproductive in addressing high collective narcissists' responses to threat to the in-group's image.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Master en médecine
  • English
Pathology, clinical medicine
Open access status
Persistent URL
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