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Support for Populist Ideologies Linked to National Narcissism and Feelings of Disadvantage

Summary: University of Kent researchers report people who believe they are disadvantaged are more likely to have an unrealistic belief in the greatness of their country and support populist ideologies.

Source: University of Kent.

People who perceive they are part of a disadvantaged group are more likely to have an unrealistic belief in the greatness of their nation and support populist ideologies.

A team of psychologists and political scientists from the universities of Kent (UK), Warsaw (Poland) and Maryland (USA) found in three studies that national collective narcissism was linked to support for populism. In the UK, collective narcissism predicted support for Brexit, in the US it predicted support for Donald Trump, and in Poland it predicted support for the populist Law and Justice party.

The study found that collective narcissism, i.e. an unrealistic belief in the greatness of the nation, increased in response to group feelings of being disadvantaged, especially when this was long lasting.

The researchers suggest that the narrative of relative disadvantage, fuelled by populist leaders, might reinforce a ‘defensive and destructive’ national perspective. Narcissistic beliefs about the in-group greatness are a way to compensate for feelings of being worse off than other groups.

One of the team, Dr Aleksandra Cichocka of the University of Kent’s School of Psychology, said that the results might partially explain why populism is often linked to prejudicial attitudes and behaviours.

Image shows a group of people.

The researchers suggest that the narrative of relative disadvantage, fuelled by populist leaders, might reinforce a ‘defensive and destructive’ national perspective. Narcissistic beliefs about the in-group greatness are a way to compensate for feelings of being worse off than other groups. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

In the first study, data from Poland in 2014 was used to examine the relationship between national collective narcissism versus conventional national identification and support for the populist Law and Justice party and its leader. The researchers found that collective narcissism, rather than mere strength of national identification, was a significant predictor of support for this party.

Study two was conducted around the EU Referendum in the UK. Researchers found that a perception of long-term group disadvantage resulted in a higher willingness to adopt populist views reflected in Brexit support. They found that this link was driven by national collective narcissism.

Study three examined support for Donald Trump. Researchers found that feelings that Americans were being disadvantaged relative to immigrants was associated with national collective narcissism, which in turn predicted preference for Trump.

About this neuroscience research article

Source: Martin Herrema – University of Kent
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “Populism as Identity Politics: Perceived In-Group Disadvantage, Collective Narcissism, and Support for Populism” by Marta Marchlewska, Aleksandra Cichocka, Orestis Panayiotou, Kevin Castellanos, and Jude Batayneh in Social Psychological and Personality Science. Published online October 4 2017 doi:10.1177/1948550617732393

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
University of Kent “Support for Populist Ideologies Linked to National Narcissism and Feelings of Disadvantage.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 24 October 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/populism-national-narcissism-7803/>.
University of Kent (2017, October 24). Support for Populist Ideologies Linked to National Narcissism and Feelings of Disadvantage. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved October 24, 2017 from http://neurosciencenews.com/populism-national-narcissism-7803/
University of Kent “Support for Populist Ideologies Linked to National Narcissism and Feelings of Disadvantage.” http://neurosciencenews.com/populism-national-narcissism-7803/ (accessed October 24, 2017).

Abstract

Populism as Identity Politics: Perceived In-Group Disadvantage, Collective Narcissism, and Support for Populism

Self-esteem is shaped by the appraisals we receive from others. Here, we Populists combine anti-elitism with a conviction that they hold a superior vision of what it means to be a true citizen of their nation. We expected support for populism to be associated with national collective narcissism—an unrealistic belief in the greatness of the national group, which should increase in response to perceived in-group disadvantage. In Study 1 (Polish participants; n = 1,007), national collective narcissism predicted support for the populist Law and Justice party. In the experimental Study 2 (British participants; n = 497), perceived long-term in-group disadvantage led to greater support for Brexit and this relationship was accounted for by national collective narcissism. In Study 3 (American participants; n = 403), group relative deprivation predicted support for Donald Trump and this relationship was accounted for by national collective narcissism. These associations were present even when we controlled for conventional national identification. We discuss implications of the link between collective narcissism and support for populism.

“Populism as Identity Politics: Perceived In-Group Disadvantage, Collective Narcissism, and Support for Populism” by Marta Marchlewska, Aleksandra Cichocka, Orestis Panayiotou, Kevin Castellanos, and Jude Batayneh in Social Psychological and Personality Science. Published online October 4 2017 doi:10.1177/1948550617732393

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