International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

Strengthening narcissistic in-group identification

Aleksandra K. Cichocka, University of Warsaw; Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, Middlesex University, London; Mirek Kofta, Warsaw University, Psychology Faculty

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: University of Warsaw
Research Area: Political culture, identity, and language

This research investigates situational factors that strengthen collective narcissism (Golec de Zavala et al., 2009) - an emotional investment in an unrealistic belief about the in-group’s greatness. Collective narcissism is a defensive form of group identification that is characterized by underlying doubts about  prominence of the in-group and sensitivity to intergroup threats. Previous studies indicate that national collective narcissism increased after an experience of collective trauma - an airplane crash in Smolensk, Russia on April 10th , 2010 that killed Polish President and several government officials (Cichocka et al., 2011). This increase might have served as a compensation for loss of control related to the trauma. The experience of loss of control was demonstrated to motivate worldview defense and in-group bias (Fritsche et al., 2008). In three studies we examine the role of lack of control in strengthening collective narcissism.  Study 1, a representative sample survey, indicates that national collective narcissism is predicted by experience of lack of control, especially among people who positively evaluate their national group. Studies 2 and 3 confirm this finding using experimental design. Lack of control over in-group’s fate strengthens narcissistic identification with the in-group.