Presented by: Dr. Brad Bushman
It has been widely asserted that low self-esteem causes aggression, but laboratory evidence is lacking, and some contrary observations have characterized aggressors as narcissistic individuals having inflated, grandiose self-views. A recent meta-analysis found a correlation between narcissism and both aggression and violence (Kjærvik & Bushman, 2021).
Narcissistic people think they are special people who deserve special treatment. They also have very “thin skins” and react aggressively when others insult, humiliate, or shame them. Recent meta-analytic findings confirm that the relation between narcissism and aggression is much stronger following provocation (Kjærvik, 2019), but it was even significant in the absence of provocation. These findings contradict the popular view that low self-esteem causes aggression and point instead toward threatened egotism as an important cause. Research offers insights on how narcissism develops and on how to reduce narcissistic aggression.
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