Narcissism and Scene Perception

  • Brieanna Soderquist MacEwan University


When people walk into a coffee shop, the amount of information in that scene greatly exceeds what people’s brains can process. Thus, people selectively attend to different information (e.g., the people in the coffee shop vs. the objects around them). The information individuals attend to may differ based on their personality traits. Here, we focus on how narcissistic individuals (those who are egotistical and self-focused) perceive and remember scenes. Previous research suggests that narcissists perform poorly on face recognition tasks, presumably because they care less about others. Research has yet to test narcissists scene recognition memory. Narcissists have an analytic cognitive-perceptual style, where they can easily disembed information from the context. This analytic cognitive-perceptual style may predict better memory for objects within scenes. In the current study, participants will complete a basic recognition memory paradigm for either indoor scenes containing people or indoor scenes without people. We hypothesize that narcissists will be better at remembering objects whereas non-narcissists will be better at remembering people. Specifically, narcissists’ analytic cognitive-perceptual style will predict better memory for objects within scenes. Identifying how narcissists perceive and organize information in their environment presents opportunities to alter such views and enhance narcissists' connection to others.

Presented in absentia on April 27, 2020 at "Student Research Day" at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. (Conference cancelled)

Faculty Mentor: Miranda Giacomin

Department: Psychology