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We conducted three studies to examine perceptions of grandiose narcissism in college professors. Narcissism might appear incompatible with the profession if professors are viewed fundamentally as helpers or as introverted bookworms. Then again, people might expect professors to display big egos congruent with the prestige of their profession and their privileged public platforms. Our research indicates that professors are generally not seen as highly narcissistic according to the criteria of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire, though they are viewed as more narcissistic than elementary school teachers. More professor narcissism was expected at colleges that prioritize scholarly productivity over teaching excellence. Male professors were viewed as more narcissistic, but only for narcissism dimensions associated with interpersonal hostility and for judgments of whether professors are “narcissistic.” We discuss possible implications for narcissistic professors’ ability to exploit the gap between academic ideals and reward system realities.


Taylor & Francis



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The Journal of Social Psychology

Available for download on Sunday, March 19, 2023

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Psychology Commons