Current Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 497–503 | Cite as

Grandiose Narcissists’ Public Versus Private Attributions for a Collaborative Success

  • Kendra Selle
  • Ashley A. BrownEmail author
  • Amani El-Alayli
  • Sandra Ewert


Grandiose narcissists tend to exhibit stronger self-serving attributional biases (SSABs) and seek public recognition for accomplishments. We examined whether grandiose narcissists are especially self-serving regarding a team success when making attributions publicly versus privately, and whether this depends on whether their partner is a friend or stranger. College students imagined winning a contest involving collaboration with a partner (friend/stranger), and then distributed credit and monetary reward for the team’s success in an imagined public (“TV interview”) or private (“anonymous survey”) context. Participants higher in grandiose narcissism exhibited greater SSAB when partnered with a stranger than a friend, especially when making attributions for earned monetary award in a “public” context. In contrast, participants lower in narcissism did not exhibit SSAB in any experiment condition. In fact, they exhibited a partner-favoring bias (in monetary reward allocations) in the “public” context when partnered with a stranger. Implications for real world reward distributions are discussed.


Grandiose narcissism Self-serving bias Attribution Public Team 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eastern Washington UniversityCheneyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social PsychologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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