Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 129–143 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Narcissistic Exploitativeness, Dispositional Empathy, and Emotion Recognition Abilities

  • Sara KonrathEmail author
  • Olivier Corneille
  • Brad J. Bushman
  • Olivier Luminet
Original Paper


The present research explores the link between the personality trait exploitativeness, a component of narcissism, and emotion recognition abilities. Prior research on this topic has produced inconsistent findings. We attempt to resolve these inconsistencies by testing the hypothesis that narcissistic exploitativeness, in particular, should be associated with emotion-reading abilities because it specifically taps into the motivation to manipulate others. Across two studies we find that narcissistic exploitativeness is indeed associated with increased emotion recognition, but in some cases the confounding effects of mood need to be considered (Study 1). Importantly, effect sizes of narcissistic exploitativeness were similar in magnitude to two different measures of dispositional empathy, which is an established correlate of emotion recognition. These studies suggest that emotional recognition abilities are associated with desirable and undesirable traits.


Narcissism Exploitativeness Emotional competencies Emotional intelligence Emotion recognition Empathy Mind reading Emotion perception ability 



The first author was supported by a grant from Wake Forest University, The Psychology of Character (via the John Templeton Foundation), while writing this manuscript. We thank Judith Hall and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Konrath
    • 1
    Email author
  • Olivier Corneille
    • 2
  • Brad J. Bushman
    • 3
    • 4
  • Olivier Luminet
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Research Institute for Psychological SciencesUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  3. 3.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.VU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.National Fund for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS)BrusselsBelgium

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