What Do Narcissists Know About Themselves? Exploring the Bright Spots and Blind Spots of Narcissists’ Self-Knowledge

  • Erika N. Carlson
  • Reem Khafagy


How do narcissists perceive themselves and their effect on other people? This chapter explores if and when narcissists’ self-perceptions and beliefs about their reputation are accurate. While narcissists tend to describe themselves in overly positive ways on some attributes, skills, and abilities, they also admit to being narcissistic, realize that other people experience them in less positive ways, and know that they lose the social status they crave over time. However, these insights are overshadowed by the fact that they seem to think that their darker attributes are character strengths that get them ahead. For example, while they admit to being narcissistic and realize that their popularity and status wanes over time, narcissists think that being arrogant, condescending, and hostile get them ahead. Thus, their blind spot might not be a failure to understand what they are like but rather how their personality undermines their goals. Implications for how narcissists might overcome the barriers to self-knowledge are discussed.


Self-knowledge Interpersonal perception Metaperception Self-perception Social cognition Self-enhancement 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erika N. Carlson
    • 1
  • Reem Khafagy
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoMississaugaCanada

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