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New Publication on the Relationship between Counterfactual Thinking and Grandiose Narcissism

Published: 21-06-2022

Felix Grundmann, together with Rachel Smallman and Kai Epstude, explored how grandiose narcissists think about what could have been. Across four studies, a complex pattern emerged, highlighting the importance of considering the dimensions of grandiose narcissism as well as contextual factors when investigating counterfactual thoughts.

The article was published open-access and can be found here.



Little is known about how individuals high in grandiose narcissism think about what could have been. Across four studies (three online surveys and one online experiment; N = 801), we addressed this gap by examining the relationship between grandiose narcissism, its admiration and rivalry dimensions, and counterfactual thinking and regret. Unlike anticipated, high rivalry was associated with more rather than fewer upward counterfactuals in Study 1. Yet, high rivalry predicted an increased likelihood of generating a downward (vs. upward) counterfactual in a feedback situation (Study 3). Moreover, grandiose narcissism (preliminary study) and admiration (Study 2) negatively correlated with regret. Collectively, our findings stress the importance of considering grandiose narcissism’s dimensions separately and highlight a novel dispositional moderator of counterfactual thinking.