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Description: Narcissistic people are exceedingly successful in conveying positive first impressions to their social surrounding, yet, they appear to be the driving force behind unfavorable long-term social and romantic relationships. Hence, a quick identification of narcissistic people may be of adaptive value for their social partners. Narcissism perception research, however, is lacking evidence on human body morphology. In this study, N = 110 raters evaluated natural 3D body scans of unacquainted N = 307 target participants (152 men and 155 women) regarding narcissistic admiration and rivalry. Based on the Brunswikian lens model, multiple regression models revealed that bodily attractiveness (β = .54, 95% CI = [0.41; 0.66]), BMI (β = .32, 95% CI = [0.13; 0.51]), shoulder-to-hip ratio (β = .33, 95% CI = [0.20; 0.47]) and physical strength (β = .23, 95% CI = [0.07; 0.39]) were utilized in judging narcissistic admiration and rivalry. Shoulder-hip ratio showed small relationships with self-reported narcissistic admiration (β = .21, 95% CI = [0.03; 0.38]) and rivalry (β = .23, 95% CI = [0.07; 0.39]) that were not robust across all analyses. Correlations between self-reported and judged narcissism showed a significant positive association for narcissistic admiration (r = .17, 95% CI = [0.06; 0.28]). Results indicate a perceptual bias when judging narcissism, as perceivers used body cues to draw inferences about target’s levels of narcissism that were not significantly related to self-reported narcissistic admiration and rivalry (and can thus be seen as invalid). However, perceivers were able to somewhat accurately judge target’s levels of narcissistic admiration and rivalry, based on body morphology alone. Thus, people’s bodies might disclose social information at zero acquaintance, but different stimuli material with more information on the targets may lead to more accurate judgments.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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