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Why narcissists are unwilling to apologize: The role of empathy and guilt. (2017)

“…narcissists are unwilling to apologize for their transgressions, as they experience little empathy for their victims and lower guilt.”

Joost M. Leunissen, Nottingham Trent University, UK; Constantine Sedikides and Tim Wildschut, University of Southampton, UK

European Journal of Personality
20 June 2017

This research was completed with the support of the Daedalus Trust and has already has been previewed on our site: Lack of empathy root of hubristic behaviour

Abstract:

“We hypothesized that narcissists would be unwilling to apologize for their interpersonal transgressions, and that reduced levels of self-reported empathy and guilt would serially mediate this effect. Narcissism is characterized by little empathy for the victim, which reduces guilt about one’s transgressions. Low guilt, in turn, is associated with unwillingness to apologize.

“In Study 1, we assessed dispositional narcissism, empathy, guilt, and willingness to apologize.

“In Study 2, we assessed dispositional narcissism and obtained state measures of empathy, guilt, and willingness to apologize.

“In Study 3, we manipulated narcissism and collected state measures of empathy, guilt, and willingness to apologize.

“Narcissism was negatively associated with (Studies 1–2) and decreased (Study 3) willingness to apologize, with this link being explained (ie. serially mediated) by low empathy and guilt.

“Finally, in Study 4, we showed that antagonistic narcissism (ie. narcissistic rivalry), but not agentic narcissism (ie. narcissistic admiration), was negatively associated with willingness to apologize and apologizing behaviour.

“In all, narcissists are unwilling to apologize for their transgressions, as they experience little empathy for their victims and lower guilt.”

Access the full paper here: Why narcissists are unwilling to apologize

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