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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008 Jul;34(7):1004-17. doi: 10.1177/0146167208316688. Epub 2008 Apr 24.

On being eager and uninhibited: narcissism and approach-avoidance motivation.

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  • 1Pyschology Department, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688, USA. foster@usouthal.edu


This article demonstrates the validity and utility of conceptualizing narcissistic personality in terms of relative approach-avoidance motivation. Across three studies (N = 1,319), narcissism predicted high approach and low avoidance motivation. That is, narcissists reported being strongly motivated to approach desirable outcomes but only weakly motivated to avoid negative outcomes. Relative approach-avoidance motivation was shown to be useful in terms of explaining behavioral tendencies associated with narcissism (i.e., functional and dysfunctional impulsivity) and distinguishing different "flavors" of narcissism (i.e., overt and covert narcissism). Discussion focuses on how approach-avoidance motivation may be used to explain prior findings in the narcissism literature and generate novel future hypotheses.

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