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An autobiographical gateway: Narcissists avoid first-person visual perspective while retrieving self-threatening memories

Marchlewska, Marta, Cichocka, Aleksandra (2016) An autobiographical gateway: Narcissists avoid first-person visual perspective while retrieving self-threatening memories. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 68 . pp. 157-161. ISSN 0022-1031. (doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.06.003)

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Abstract

This research examines the role of narcissistic versus genuine self-evaluation in the retrieval of self-threatening memories. Autobiographical memories can be retrieved either from a first-person or a third-person visual perspective. Because narcissism is linked to sensitivity to psychological threats, it should predict retrieval of self-threatening memories using the third-person perspective. Genuine self-esteem, on the other hand, is resilient to threats. Therefore, it should be associated with retrieving self-relevant, even if threatening, memories from the first-person perspective. In two experiments we measured narcissism and self-esteem. Experiment 1 manipulated valence of self-relevant memories by asking participants to recall self-threatening (shameful) or self-boosting (proud) situations. Experiment 2 manipulated self-relevance of negative memories by asking participants to recall self-threatening (shameful) or negative, yet not self-threatening (sad) situations. Visual perspective of memory retrieval served as the dependent variable. In Experiment 1, narcissism predicted avoiding the first-person perspective and employing the third-person perspective in self-threatening memories, while self-esteem predicted the first-person perspective regardless of the memories being self-threatening or self-boosting. In Experiment 2, narcissism predicted the third-person perspective, while genuine self-esteem predicted the first-person perspective when self-threatening memories were recalled. Neither narcissism, nor genuine self-esteem were associated with visual perspective when participants recalled negative memories irrelevant to the self. Results shed light on the role of self-evaluation in processing autobiographical memories.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.06.003
Uncontrolled keywords: Visual perspective; Autobiographical memory; Narcissism; Self-esteem; Emotion regulation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Aleksandra Cichocka
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2016 17:15 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:38 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/56584 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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