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Current Concepts of the Narcissistic Personality: Implications for Political Psychology

Jerrold M. Post
Political Psychology
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Mar., 1993), pp. 99-121
DOI: 10.2307/3791395
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3791395
Page Count: 23
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Current Concepts of the Narcissistic Personality: Implications for Political Psychology
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Abstract

In the past two decades, increasing attention has focused on the etiology and clinical manifestations of the narcissistic personality. This article reviews current concepts of the narcissistic personality, drawing special attention to the implications for political psychology. The decision-making of the narcissistic leader, especially crisis decision-making, is often impaired. The narcissistic leader has difficulty accepting criticism or new information, contributing to sycophantic advisory circles. Moreover, he may be overly optimistic concerning his possibility of success and underrate the adversary. The understanding of charismatic leader-follower relationships is enriched by understanding narcissistic transferences. Charismatic leaders often manifest the "mirror-hungry" personality, which is attractive to "ideal-hungry" personalities. The impact of the life cycle of the narcissistic leader is also explored, drawing especial attention to the heroic myth and frustrated dreams of glory. Malignant narcissism, as exemplified by Saddam Hussein; narcissistic rage; and the cognition and belief systems of the narcissist are also examined.

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