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Understanding and mitigating narcissists' low empathy

Understanding and mitigating narcissists' low empathy
Understanding and mitigating narcissists' low empathy

In this chapter we examine the argument and evidence that a lack of empathy may lie at the core of narcissists' chronic interpersonal inadequacies. Empathy is a key ingredient in facilitating smooth social interactions and maintaining interpersonal harmony. Empathy is linked with the promotion of prosocial and mitigation of antisocial behavior. We review the research showing that narcissism is inversely related to a whole host of empathy measures. This relationship pertains to both cognitive (e.g., understanding and considering another person's viewpoint) and affective (e.g., vicariously experiencing another's emotional state) forms of empathy. We argue that without taking another's perspective and feeling their emotions, narcissists have no reason to curb their antisocial behavior or participate in prosocial acts. We delineate the negative consequences of narcissists' low empathy for those around them and society at large. Such empirical evidence has determined low empathy to be a mechanism underlying narcissists' displays of aggression, bullying, and criminality, as well as an increased propensity to engage in poor parenting practices and inability to maintain long-term relationships. On a positive note, we review the literature which suggests that narcissists are capable of being empathic. Thus change is possible. With this in mind, we discuss the ways in which narcissists' low empathy may be mitigated.

Antisocial behavior, Empathy, Grandiose narcissism, Interpersonal, Intervention, Motivation, Perspective-taking, Prosocial behavior
335-343
Springer
Hart, Claire M.
e3db9c72-f493-439c-a358-b3b482d55103
Hepper, Erica G.
fe969931-cea2-4781-a474-d41a89b213ae
Sedikides, Constantine
9d45e66d-75bb-44de-87d7-21fd553812c2
Hermann, A.
Brunell, A.
Foster, J.
Hart, Claire M.
e3db9c72-f493-439c-a358-b3b482d55103
Hepper, Erica G.
fe969931-cea2-4781-a474-d41a89b213ae
Sedikides, Constantine
9d45e66d-75bb-44de-87d7-21fd553812c2
Hermann, A.
Brunell, A.
Foster, J.

Hart, Claire M., Hepper, Erica G. and Sedikides, Constantine (2018) Understanding and mitigating narcissists' low empathy. In, Hermann, A., Brunell, A. and Foster, J. (eds.) Handbook of Trait Narcissism: Key Advances, Research Methods, and Controversies. Cham. Springer, pp. 335-343. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-92171-6_36).

Record type: Book Section

Abstract

In this chapter we examine the argument and evidence that a lack of empathy may lie at the core of narcissists' chronic interpersonal inadequacies. Empathy is a key ingredient in facilitating smooth social interactions and maintaining interpersonal harmony. Empathy is linked with the promotion of prosocial and mitigation of antisocial behavior. We review the research showing that narcissism is inversely related to a whole host of empathy measures. This relationship pertains to both cognitive (e.g., understanding and considering another person's viewpoint) and affective (e.g., vicariously experiencing another's emotional state) forms of empathy. We argue that without taking another's perspective and feeling their emotions, narcissists have no reason to curb their antisocial behavior or participate in prosocial acts. We delineate the negative consequences of narcissists' low empathy for those around them and society at large. Such empirical evidence has determined low empathy to be a mechanism underlying narcissists' displays of aggression, bullying, and criminality, as well as an increased propensity to engage in poor parenting practices and inability to maintain long-term relationships. On a positive note, we review the literature which suggests that narcissists are capable of being empathic. Thus change is possible. With this in mind, we discuss the ways in which narcissists' low empathy may be mitigated.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 28 September 2018
Keywords: Antisocial behavior, Empathy, Grandiose narcissism, Interpersonal, Intervention, Motivation, Perspective-taking, Prosocial behavior

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Local EPrints ID: 429649
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/429649
PURE UUID: b226d97b-2187-4c1c-94bb-cfaa078220fe

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Date deposited: 03 Apr 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 00:52

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