Relationship between Narcissism and Individual Need for Uniqueness
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a correlation is evident between narcissistic behavior and the need for uniqueness. Thirty five participants were recruited in this study and are given two established questionnaires, Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale and the Are You a Freak Scale. Hypothesis produced was individuals who have narcissistic tendencies are also more inclined to have a need to be more unique than others, suggesting a positive correlation between them. Results obtained supported the hypothesis whereby the correlation score is 0.038 where a significant correlation is achieved at 0.05.
Keywords: narcissism, uniqueness, correlation
What do we need in life? Many people would agree to wanting to be unique in this world where brands and false perceptions of beauty is projected repeatedly by social media. We run in imaginary races to keep up with the latest fashions and trends so that we can be different or unique from everybody else. That being said, do narcissists also have the need to be more unique than others?
What is narcissism and need for uniqueness? Narcissism is characterized to have self-centered, grandiosity, dominating and manipulative behaviors (Emmons, 1987). Researchers determined that narcissism has both cognitive and also motivational elements. Cognitively, narcissists have a high belief in their own superior abilities (Chatterjee & Hambrick, 2007). Narcissists tend to over-evaluate their abilities which include intelligence, leadership, competence and also creativity (Chatterjee & Hambrick, 2007). This over confidence leads many other people who interact with the narcissist to see the individual as arrogant and many a times cease to continue interaction with the person.
Looking from the motivational point of view, narcissists have a strong need to have their self – assumed supremacy to be reaffirmed constantly. They are motivated to get admiration from other people to reaffirm their (many a times false) superiority. Which is safe to say that false perception of superiority of the narcissist is reinforced by confirmation from peers (Chatterjee & Hambrick, 2007). In the context of this study, narcissistic consumers tend to buy luxurious and exclusive products as their way to support and raise their self- positivity (Dunning, 2007; Sedikides, Gregg, Cisek, & Hart, 2007).
The need for uniqueness can be characterized as wanting to be different than everybody else. Individuals have a need to be different and outstanding. Individual differences, or uniqueness, supplies to self-identity, attracts notice and increases the individual’s self-esteem and social status (Codol, 1984; Maslach, 1974). According to uniqueness theory by Snyder and Fromkin (1980), the unpleasant feelings of being seen as extremely similar to other people motivates the individual to re-establish a moderate level of perceived distinctiveness. This means that as individuals see more similarities between themselves and other people, they will feel motivated to reassert their distinctiveness.
The main objective of this research is to determine a correlation between levels of narcissism and the need to be unique. On whether narcissistic tendencies of an individual correlates to having a need to be unique. Hypothesis that was formed was that individuals who have narcissistic tendencies are also more inclined to have a need to be more unique than others, suggesting a positive correlation between them.
Thirty five undergraduate students studying bachelors in clinical psychology were chosen from International Medical University for this study.
2 established questionaires, the Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (Hendin & Cheek, 1997) and the Are You a Freak Scale. The Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale consists of ten questions and uses the Likert scale to measure the score; 1 as very uncharacteristic or untrue, strongly disagree up until 5 as very characteristic or true, strongly agree. The Are You a Freak Scale consists of 32 questions also using the Likert scale to measure scores; 1 as strongly disagree up until 5 as strongly agree. Copies of both scales are attached at the appendix section. Informed consent form will also be attached at the appendix section.
2 established questionnaires were chosen, the questionnaires are then administered to the thirty five students digitally via student portal using campus computers. A brief explanation of the scales were given in the questionnaires and the participants were given a set time of fifteen minutes to complete both questionnaires. The answers received are then gathered in a database and analyzed. A full report was produced after the tabulation of the data was done.
Results of the correlation between the data are shown in table 1
Total Score Overall Score __________________________________________________________________________________________
Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale Pearson Correlation 1 -.492*
Score Sig. (2-tailed) .038
N 18 18
Are You a Freak Score Pearson Correlation -.492* 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .038
N 18 18
*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
As shown in table 1, a correlation is evident between the scores of Hypersensitive Narcissism scale and Are You a Freak Scale.
The Pearson Correlation is used to measure the correlation score between Hypersensitive Narcissism score and Are You a Freak score as it is a suitable measure for correlation between 2 scores.
The significance of correlation score is shown in table 1 as 0.038 for both scales. The correlation score shows that correlations between the 2 scales is evident as the significant correlation score is set at 0.05.
In this research, we sought to demonstrate the link between narcissism and the need to be unique, suggesting a positive correlation between them. From the results obtained, it shows that there is a correlation between narcissistic tendencies and having the need to be unique. Thus, hypothesis is accepted. It shows that individuals with narcissistic tendencies do have the need to be unique.
In terms of narcissists as consumers, (Dunning, 2007; Sedikides et al. 2007) proposed that narcissists tend to buy exclusive and prestigous items in order to support and raise their self-positivity. According to this logic, narcissists are motivated to buy highly luxurious and exclusive items as a means to assert their uniqueness. For narcissists, whether a product will satisfy their practical and daily needs is irrelevant as long as it is a rare and exclusive product (Lee & Seidle, 2012).
Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (Hendin & Cheek, 1997)
1 = very uncharacteristic or untrue, strongly disagree
2 = uncharacteristic
3 = neutral
4 = characteristic
5 = very characteristic or true, strongly agree
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1. I can become entirely absorbed in thinking about my personal affairs, my health, my cares or my relations to others.
2. My feelings are easily hurt by ridicule or the slighting remarks of others.
3. When I enter a room I often become self-conscious and feel that the eyes of others are upon me.
4. I dislike sharing the credit of an achievement with others.
5. I feel that I have enough on my hands without worrying about other people’s troubles.
6. I feel that I am temperamentally different from most people.
7. I often interpret the remarks of others in a personal way.
8. I easily become wrapped up in my own interests and forget the existence of others.
9. I dislike being with a group unless I know that I am appreciated by at least one of those present.
10. I am secretly “put out” or annoyed when other people come to me with their troubles, asking me for my time and sympathy.
Are You a Freak Scale
1. Strongly disagree
3. Neither disagree nor agree
5. Strongly agree
When I am in a group of strangers, I am not reluctant to express my opinion openly.
I find that criticism affects my self-esteem.
I sometimes hesitate to use my own ideas for fear they might be impractical.
I think society should let reason lead it to new customs and throw aside old habits or mere traditions.
People frequently succeed in changing my mind.
I find it sometimes amusing to upset the dignity of teachers, judges, and “cultured” people.
I like wearing a uniform because it makes me proud to be a member of the organization it represents.
People have sometimes called me “stuck-up.”
Others’ disagreement make me uncomfortable.
I do not always need to live by the rules and standard of society.
I am unable to express my feelings if they result in undesirable consequences.
Being a success in one’s career means making a contribution that no one else has made.
It bothers me if people think I am being too unconventional.
I always try to follow rules.
If I disagree with a superior on his or her views, I usually do not keep it to myself.
I speak up in meetings in order to oppose those whom I feel are wrong.
Feeling “different” in a crowd of people makes me feel uncomfortable.
If I must die, let it be an unusual death rather than an ordinary death in bed.
I would rather be just like everyone else than be called a “freak.”
I must admit I find it hard to work under strict rules and regulations.
I would rather be known for always trying new ideas than for employing well-trusted methods.
It is better always to agree with the opinions of others than to be considered a disagreeable person.
I do not like to say unusual things to people.
I tend to express my opinions publicly, regardless of what others say.
As a rule, I strongly defend my own opinions.
I do not like to go my own way.
When I am with a group of people, I agree with their ideas so that no arguments will arise.
I tend to keep quiet in the presence of persons of higher rank, experience, etc.
I have been quite independent and free from family rule.
Whenever I take part in group activities, I am somewhat of a nonconformist.
In most things in life, I believe in playing it safe rather than taking a gamble.
It is better to break rules than always to conform with an impersonal society.
Chatterjee, A., & Hambrick, D. C. (2007). it’s all about me: Narcissistic chief executive officers and their effects on company strategy and performances. Administrative Science Quarterly, 351-386.
Dunning, D. (2007). self-image motives and consumer behavior: How sacrosanct self-beliefs sway preferences in the marketplace. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17, 237-249.
Emmons, R. A. (1987). Narcissism: Theory and measurement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 11-17.
Hendin, H. M., & Cheek, J. M. (1997). Assessing Hypersensitive Narcissism: A Re-examination of Murray’s Narcissism Scale. Journal of Research in Personality, 31, 588-599.
Sedikides, C., Gregg, A. P., Cisek, S., & Hart, C. M. (2007). The I that buys: Narcissists as consumers. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17, 254-257.Lee, S. Y., & Seidle, R. (2012). Narcissists as Consumers: The Effects of Perceived Scarcity on Processing of Product Information. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 40(9), 1485–1499. doi:10.2224/sbp.2012.40.9.1485
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