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Whereas most past research has investigated narcissists’ tendency to be grandiose, self-focused, and vain as a stable part of who they are, I am interested in understanding how situations can influence people’s narcissistic tendencies. I empirically examine whether people display short-term, within-person variability in grandiose narcissism. Using daily-diary methods and multilevel modeling, I observed significant within-person variability in narcissism over spans as long as two weeks (Giacomin & Jordan, 2016a, 2016b). This within-person variability, moreover, is psychologically meaningful: I have found that people’s state narcissism is higher on days when they experience more positive outcomes and greater daily life satisfaction; conversely, state narcissism is lower on days when people experience greater stress. These results suggest that narcissism has a process or state component that allows people’s narcissistic tendencies to change depending on the context they are in. In addition, I am exploring how people’s narcissistic tendencies may reflect instability in terms of their perceived level of status and inclusion (Benson & Giacomin, 2020).

In addition, I experimentally examine the factors that cause changes in people’s state narcissism and the interpersonal consequences that ensue from these changes (Giacomin & Jordan, 2014; Jordan, Giacomin, & Kopp, 2014). I have found that experimentally increasing a person’s communal focus (by increasing empathic concern or interdependent self-construal) reduces that person’s state narcissism. These changes in state narcissism, in turn, curtail some of the detrimental interpersonal consequences associated with narcissism, such as decreased fame seeking.


Another primary focus in my research is to investigate how people form impressions of others and how these impressions develop over time.

I specifically examine the psychological processes involved in “thin slice” perceptions of self-esteem (Giacomin & Jordan, 2016c) and narcissism (Giacomin & Jordan, 2018; Giacomin & Rule, 2018). For example, my ongoing research suggests that the mix of desirable and undesirable attributes in narcissists confounds impression-makers: People overestimate narcissists’ self-esteem and this leads them to form overly positive impressions when they first encounter them (Giacomin & Jordan, 2018). I also explore the cues people may use when forming their first impressions of narcissists (e.g., attractiveness, facial features) to get a better sense of where people err versus succeed in correctly identifying someone’s narcissistic tendencies (Giacomin & Rule, 2018). Understanding how people form accurate impressions is important for social decision making.


Broadly, my research also examines perceptions of leaders (Giacomin & Rule, 2020; Giacomin, Mulligan, & Rule, 2021) and the cognitive prototypes people hold of male and female leaders (Giacomin & Brown, under review; Giacomin, Tskhay, & Rule, 2021). Some of my research focuses on personnel selection by examining the dynamics between personality and perceived job suitability in both leader and follower (subordinate) positions (Giacomin & Rule, in preparation).

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