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A Means To A Selfish End - New Study Looks At How Narcissism Impacts Honesty

Posted by Deb Muoio

Mar 6, 2019 3:42:49 PM

A new study by indicates that narcissists will lie, manipulate, and bend the rules in order to get what they want.

Narcissists are not easy to spot, at least not right away. They’ll charm you, entrance you, put you on a pedestal and appear loving, friendly, and generous. However, after the “honeymoon phase,” the Jekyll and Hyde pattern starts to emerge. At that point, they are fairly easy to recognize…if you can see through the gas-lighting, bullying, manipulation, and guilt-tripping. Research from reveals that honesty certainly isn’t narcissists’ forte: They’re untrustworthy, vindictive, and remorseless.

Analyzing data from 1,720 people who took PsychTests’ Integrity & Work Ethics Test, researchers contrasted the attitude, personality, and behavior of narcissists to non-narcissists on a dozen honesty related traits. Here’s how they compared: (Note: Scores on the traits below can range from 0 to 100)


  • Score for narcissists: 62
  • Score for non-narcissists: 90


  • Score for narcissists: 56
  • Score for non-narcissists: 84


  • Score for narcissists: 45
  • Score for non-narcissists: 81


  • Score for narcissists: 59
  • Score for non-narcissists: 89


  • Score for narcissists: 58
  • Score for non-narcissists: 76


  • Score for narcissists: 60
  • Score for non-narcissists: 89


  • Score for narcissists: 55
  • Score for non-narcissists: 9


  • Score for narcissists: 59
  • Score for non-narcissists: 15


  • Score for narcissists: 64
  • Score for non-narcissists: 10

SCHADENFREUDE (deriving satisfaction when someone suffers a misfortune or is humiliated)

  • Score for narcissists: 62
  • Score for non-narcissists: 11


  • Score for narcissists: 58
  • Score for non-narcissists: 16


  • Score for narcissists: 62
  • Score for non-narcissists: 17

“Narcissism is one of the ‘Dark Triad’ traits, along with Machiavellianism and Psychopathy,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “As a combination, these traits can lead to aggression, impulsivity, extreme risk-taking, and other undesirable behaviors. However, as our study has shown, even narcissism alone can be troublesome. Narcissists are not just selfish and conceited, they also have the capacity to be deceitful. What’s more, narcissists may rationalize their underhanded actions, and feel totally justified in skirting rules or taking advantage of people if they see it as a means to an end. However, narcissists almost always have a fragile ego. This is why they readily, and with gusto, criticize others but will severely punish anyone who dares to criticize them. They will often go to great lengths to maintain their social status.”

“There are two general types of narcissists: The overt ones are recognizable and therefore, easier to deal with. They are self-aggrandizing, have a sense of entitlement, and are not afraid to voice their contempt for people they view as inferior. Covert narcissists are the ones you really need to worry about, because they can go undetected for years or even decades in relationships or in the workplace. They tend to lie, cheat, project feelings onto others, gaslight, and do whatever they can to gain and keep the upper hand. They isolate their targets, slowly eroding their sense of self and self-esteem through subtle criticism, constant put-downs, and verbal jabs disguised as compliments. They will blame you for everything that goes wrong, which will lead some vulnerable people to internalize the criticism and believe that they are truly at fault. Narcissists are unwilling and unable to take responsibility for their actions, even when their transgressions are obvious.”

“Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NDP) oftentimes goes undiagnosed. Narcissists rarely seek treatment, because they hate being challenged and are unwilling to admit that they have an issue. Even when they go into counseling, typically because their partner is threatening to leave, therapy often takes years with a very skilled psychologist before their destructive patterns are broken. In addition, even people with subclinical NDP (those who are high on the Narcissism spectrum without the severity needed for a diagnosis) can create plenty of havoc and pain in families, friendships, and workplace relationships. This is why companies need to strive to screen out people with strong narcissistic tendencies when hiring. Rather than simply looking for an employee who is honest, make sure to also assess for traits that could contribute to toxic, destructive, and counterproductive behavior.”

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About PsychTests AIM Inc.

PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

Topics: Leadership Development, Wellbeing at Work, Employee Attitude, Hiring, Business Skills, Personal Development, Workplace Bullying, Personality Assessment, Pre-employment Testing, Management Skills, Emotional Intelligence, Employee Relations, Turnover, Team-building

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