Mind-Reading and Metacognition: Narcissism, not Actual Competence, Predicts Self-Estimated Ability
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
In this paper, we examine the relationship between people's actual interpersonal sensitivity (such as their ability to identify deception and to infer intentions and emotions) and their perceptions of their own sensitivity. Like prior scholars, we find the connection is weak or non-existent and that most people overestimate their social judgment and mind-reading skills. Unlike previous work, however, we show new evidence about who misunderstands their sensitivity and why. We find that those who perform the worst in social judgment and mind-reading radically overestimate their relative competence. We also find origins of these self-estimates in general narcissistic tendencies toward self-aggrandizement. We discuss evidence from two studies, one involving the Interpersonal Perception Task (the IPT-15) and another focusing on inferences about partners after a face-to-face negotiation exercise. In both cases, actual performance did not predict self-estimated performance but narcissism did.
- Alicke, M. D. (1985). Global self-evaluation as determined by the desirability and controllability of trait adjectives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1621–1630.
- Ames, D. R., Rose, P., & Anderson, C. P. (2004). Narcissism: A 16 item-pair scale. Manuscript under review.
- Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., Martin, J., & Clubley, E. (2001). The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 5–17.
- Burson, K. A., Larrick, R. P., & Klayman, J. (2004). Skilled or unskilled, but still unaware of it: How perceptions of difficulty drive miscalibration in relative comparisons. Manuscript under review.
- Bushman, B. J., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 219–229.
- Colvin, C. R., & Block, J. (1994). Do positive illusions foster mental health? An examination of the Taylor and Brown formulation. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 3–20.
- Costanzo, M., & Archer, D. (1989). Interpreting the expressive behavior of others: The interpersonal perception task. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 13, 225–235.
- Costanzo, M., & Archer, D. (Producers) (1993). Interpersonal perception task-15 [videotape]. University of California Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning, 2000 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704.
- Davis, M. H., & Kraus, L. A. (1997). Personality and empathic accuracy. In W. Ickes (Ed.), Empathic accuracy (pp. 144–168). New York: Guilford Press.
- DePaulo, B. M., Charlton, K., Cooper, H., Lindsay, J. J., & Muhlenbruck, L. (1997). The accuracy-confidence correlation in the detection of deception. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 1, 246–357.
- Drolet, A. L., & Morris, M. W. (2000). Rapport in conflict resolution: Accounting for how nonverbal exchange fosters cooperation on mutually beneficial settlements to mixedmotive conflicts. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 36, 26–50.
- Dunning, D., Johnson, K., Ehrlinger, J., & Kruger, J. (2003). Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 83–87.
- Dunning, D., Meyerowitz, J., & Holzberg, A. D. (1989). Ambiguity and self-evaluation: The role of idiosyncratic trait definitions in self-serving assessments of ability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1082–1090.
- Ehrlinger, J., & Dunning, D. (2003). How chronic self-views influence (and potentially mislead) estimates of performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 5–17.
- Ekman, P., & O'Sullivan, M. (1991). Who can catch a liar? American Psychologist, 46, 913–920.
- Emmons, R. A. (1987). Narcissism: Theory and measurement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 11–17.
- Gabriel, M. T, Critelli, J. W., & Ee, J. S. (1994). Narcissistic illusions in self-evaluations of intelligence and attractiveness. Journal of Personality, 62, 143–155.
- Hodges, S. D. (2003). Is how much you understand me in your head or mine? Paper presented at Other Minds: An Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.
- Ickes, W. (2003). Everyday mind reading: Understanding what other people think and feel. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
- Ickes, W. (1993). Empathic accuracy. Journal of Personality, 61, 587–610.
- Ickes, W., Gesn, P. R., & Graham, T. (2000). Gender differences in empathic accuracy: Differential ability or differential motivation? Personal Relationships, 7, 95–109.
- John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. (1991). The Big-Five Inventory. Technical Report, Institute for Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
- John, O. P., & Robins, R. W. (1994). Accuracy and bias in self-perception: Individual differences in self-enhancement and the role of narcissism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 206–219.
- Kernis, M. H., & Sun, C. R. (1994). Narcissism and reactions to interpersonal feedback. Journal of Research in Personality, 28, 4–13.
- Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1121–1134.
- Lennox, R. D., & Wolfe, R. N. (1984). Revision of the self-monitoring scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 1349–1364.
- Morf, C. C., & Rhodewalt, F. (2001). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: A dynamic self-regulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry, 12, 177–196.
- Patterson, M. L., & Stockbridge, E. (1998). Effects of cognitive demand and judgment strategy on person perception accuracy. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 22, 253–263.
- Patterson, M. L., Foster, J. L., & Bellmer, C. (2001). Another look at accuracy and confidence in social judgments. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 25, 207–219.
- Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Interpersonal and intrapsychic adaptiveness of trait self-enhancement: A mixed blessing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1197–1208.
- Paulhus, D.L., Lysy, D.C., & Yik, M.S.N. (1998). Self-report measures of intelligence: Are they useful as proxy IQ tests? Journal of Personality, 66, 525–554.
- Realo, A., Allik, J., Nolvka, A., Valk, R., Ruus, T., Schmidt, M., & Eilola, T. (2003). Mind reading ability: Beliefs and performance. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 420–445.
- Robins, R.W., Hendin, H. M., & Trzesniewski, K. H. (2001). Measuring global self-esteem: Construct validation of a single-item measure and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 151–161.
- Robins, R.W., & John, O.P. (1997). Effects of visual perspective and narcissism on self-perception: Is seeing believing? Psychological Science, 8, 37–42.
- Smith, H. J., Archer, D., & Costanzo, M. (1991). ''Just a hunch'': Accuracy and awareness in person perception. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 15, 3–18.
- Swann, W. B., Jr., & Gill, M. J. (1997). Confidence and accuracy in person perception: Do we know what we think we know about our relationship partners? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 747–757.
- Taylor, S.E., & Brown, J. (1988). Illusions and well-being: A social-psychological perspective on mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 193–210.
- Watson, P. J., Grisham, S. O., Trotter, M. V., & Biderman, M. D. (1984). Narcissism and empathy: Validity evidence for the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 301–305.
- Mind-Reading and Metacognition: Narcissism, not Actual Competence, Predicts Self-Estimated Ability
Journal of Nonverbal Behavior
Volume 28, Issue 3 , pp 187-209
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- empathic accuracy
- interpersonal sensitivity