Skip to main content

I don’t feel ya: How narcissism shapes empathy

Burgmer, Pascal, Weiss, Alexa, Ohmann, Katharina (2021) I don’t feel ya: How narcissism shapes empathy. Self and Identity, 20 (2). pp. 199-215. ISSN 1529-8868. (doi:10.1080/15298868.2019.1645730) (KAR id:75314)

PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download (367kB) Preview
[thumbnail of Burgmer, Weiss, & Ohmann (2019, S&I) –– Narcissism & Empathy.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL:


Those who tend towards a self-absorbed personality are less likely to “feel others.” Indeed, subclinical narcissism has been linked to decreased empathy: Individuals high in narcissism seem to neglect what other people are thinking and feeling and are less likely to emotionally share others’ mental states. Three studies (N = 1,008) extend the literature on narcissism and empathy in some important ways. We suggest that the empathy deficit among narcissists does not make an exception for close friends, that it manifests not only in less, but also in discordant affect, and that it is mainly driven by the antagonistic dimension of narcissism (Studies 1 and 2). Moreover, employing an experimental manipulation, the present findings offer a novel way of attenuating this empathy deficit among narcissists: the experience of trust (Study 2). Finally, a pre-registered laboratory study documents a “bright” consequence of narcissists’ empathy deficit with respect to parochial altruism (Study 3). Hence, as unfortunate as narcissists’ empathy deficit might be, it is not set in stone. Additionally, a narcissistic spotlight that shines exclusively on the self can reduce some of the parochialism that empathy for specific, often close others entails.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/15298868.2019.1645730
Uncontrolled keywords: Narcissism; Narcissistic Rivalry; Empathy; Contagion; Parochial Altruism
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Pascal Burgmer
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2019 09:17 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2021 10:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Burgmer, Pascal:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year