Anita L. Vangelisti , Mark L. Knapp & John A. Daly
Pages 251-274 | Published online: 02 Jun 2009
Conversational narcissism is typified by an extreme self‐focusing in a conversation, to the exclusion of appropriate concerns for the other. Whether conceptualized as a conversational style, possessed to varying degrees by various individuals, or as a conversational feature associated with various situational demands, conversational narcissism has important implications for the structure, goals, and outcomes of conversation. Results of six studies reported here revealed that people had behavioral referents for the term “conversational narcissism” such as boasting, refocusing the topic of the conversation on the self, exaggerating hand and body movements, using a loud tone of voice, and “glazing over” when others speak. The behavior of individuals role‐playing narcissistic conversational behavior was consistent with the recalled referents. Further, people enacting narcissistic conversational behaviors were rated significantly lower on social attraction than people not acting narcissistic. While conversational narcissism is generally perceived as a negative social strategy, respondents reported a number of contexts in which focusing attention on the self (to the exclusion of the other) is an appropriate move. Taken together, the data suggest that conversational narcissism is determined interactively, by the needs and conversational goals of both participants.