Are You As Good As You Think You Are? Malingering, Narcissism, and Feedback

  • Ryley Russell MacEwan University


Past studies have revealed that narcissism may be related to enhanced malingering abilities (i.e., production of “realistic” profiles) in relation to cognitive functioning. However, narcissism also has been linked to aggressive (and impaired) responding following negative evaluation. The present study aimed to simultaneously evaluate narcissism in relation to malingering across different types of disorders and under different conditions of performance feedback. Undergraduate participants will be assessed for their levels of narcissism using the Narcissism Personality Inventory (NPI), and then randomly assigned to one of five malingering conditions: psychosis, neurological impairment, amnesia, low intelligence, or affective disorder. All participants will be given a short description of the disorder, and instructed to do their best to appear as if they have the disorder (i.e., produce a feigned but realistic profile) by completing a “psychological symptom test” (i.e., Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology; SIMS). Following initial completion of the SIMS, participants will be randomly assigned to a positive (ego-boost), neutral (none), or negative (ego-threat) feedback condition regarding their malingering performance. Based on this feedback, they will be asked to complete the SIMS again in relation to the disorder, and reminded to try to successfully feign the disorder. Change scores in symptom endorsement as a function of narcissism and feedback will be evaluated, as well as variations in profiles across different categories of malingering. This study could provide insight into how feedback influences the strategy that narcissistic individuals use to malinger specific disorders.

Discipline: Psychology Honours

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kristine Peace