Are narcissists sexy? Zeroing in on the effect of narcissism on short-term mate appeal

M. Dufner, J.F. Rauthmann, A.Z. Czarna, J.J.A. Denissen

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Abstract

This research was aimed to provide a comprehensive test of the classic notion that narcissistic individuals are appealing as short-term romantic or sexual partners. In three studies, we tested the hypotheses that narcissism exerts a positive effect on an individual’s mate appeal and that this effect is mediated by high physical attractiveness and high social boldness. We implemented a multimethod approach and used ratings of opposite sex persons (Study 1), ratings of friends (Study 2), and records of courtship outcomes in naturalistic interactions (Study 3) as indicators of mate appeal. In all cases, narcissism had a positive effect on mate appeal, which was mainly due to the agentic self-enhancement aspects of narcissism (rather than narcissists’ lacking communion). As predicted, physical attractiveness and social boldness mediated the positive effect of narcissism on mate appeal. Findings further indicated that narcissism was more strongly linked to mate appeal than to friend appeal.
Keywords: narcissism, mating, attractiveness, boldness, popularity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-882
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume39
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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abstract = "This research was aimed to provide a comprehensive test of the classic notion that narcissistic individuals are appealing as short-term romantic or sexual partners. In three studies, we tested the hypotheses that narcissism exerts a positive effect on an individual’s mate appeal and that this effect is mediated by high physical attractiveness and high social boldness. We implemented a multimethod approach and used ratings of opposite sex persons (Study 1), ratings of friends (Study 2), and records of courtship outcomes in naturalistic interactions (Study 3) as indicators of mate appeal. In all cases, narcissism had a positive effect on mate appeal, which was mainly due to the agentic self-enhancement aspects of narcissism (rather than narcissists’ lacking communion). As predicted, physical attractiveness and social boldness mediated the positive effect of narcissism on mate appeal. Findings further indicated that narcissism was more strongly linked to mate appeal than to friend appeal.Keywords: narcissism, mating, attractiveness, boldness, popularity",
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Are narcissists sexy? Zeroing in on the effect of narcissism on short-term mate appeal. / Dufner, M.; Rauthmann, J.F.; Czarna, A.Z.; Denissen, J.J.A.

In: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 39, No. 7, 2013, p. 870-882.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - This research was aimed to provide a comprehensive test of the classic notion that narcissistic individuals are appealing as short-term romantic or sexual partners. In three studies, we tested the hypotheses that narcissism exerts a positive effect on an individual’s mate appeal and that this effect is mediated by high physical attractiveness and high social boldness. We implemented a multimethod approach and used ratings of opposite sex persons (Study 1), ratings of friends (Study 2), and records of courtship outcomes in naturalistic interactions (Study 3) as indicators of mate appeal. In all cases, narcissism had a positive effect on mate appeal, which was mainly due to the agentic self-enhancement aspects of narcissism (rather than narcissists’ lacking communion). As predicted, physical attractiveness and social boldness mediated the positive effect of narcissism on mate appeal. Findings further indicated that narcissism was more strongly linked to mate appeal than to friend appeal.Keywords: narcissism, mating, attractiveness, boldness, popularity

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