Far-left extremism linked to narcissism: study

"Certain forms of activism might provide them with opportunities for positive self-presentation and displays of moral superiority."


A study out of the University of Bern in Switzerland has revealed that those who partake in far-left activism are more likely to exhibit narcissistic personality traits and psychopathic tendencies.

Researchers Alex Bertrams and Ann Krispenz found that many activists do not believe in what they purport to stand for, and are simply using the cause to prop up their own perceived moral superiority and social standing.

In an interview with PsyPost, Bertrams and Krispenz explain that narcissists are drawn to endorsing left-wing antihierarchical aggression via the dark-ego-vehicle principle, which arues that activism can be used "as a vehicle to satisfy their own ego-focused needs instead of actually aiming at social justice and equality."

"In particular," they argued, "certain forms of activism might provide them with opportunities for positive self-presentation and displays of moral superiority, to gain social status, to dominate others, and to engage in social conflicts and aggression to satisfy their need for thrill seeking."

They made sure to note that, "involvement in (violent) political activism is not solely attributable to political orientation but rather to personality traits manifesting in individuals on the (radical) left and right of the political spectrum." Essentially, narcissists tend to gravitate towards whichever side "seems to be more opportune to them given a specific situation."

Bertrams and Krispenz lamented the fact that while there has been exhaustive research into right-wing authoritarianism, literature on their left-wing counterparts is lacking.

The pair have completed a number of studies on left-wing activism, including one which argued that those who took part in LGBTQ protests were more likely to exhibit pathological narcissism, which can be described as "an exaggerated sense of uniqueness, immodesty, and a desire for high praise by others."

They pointed out that "exploitativeness (e.g., 'I can make anyone believe anything I want them to')" was a major draw, as it could give participants a feeling of superiority.

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