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Seeing My World in a Million Little Pieces: Narcissism, Self-Construal, and Cognitive–Perceptual Style


concerning this article should be addressed to Sara Konrath, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail:


ABSTRACT In 4 studies we examine the association between narcissism, self-construal, and cognitive–perceptual style, hypothesizing that high self-focus in combination with low other-focus (i.e., social atomization) is related to an analytic cognitive–perceptual style. Participants completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, the Self-Construal Scale, and measures of cognitive–perceptual style such as the Analysis-Holism Scale, the Embedded Figures Test, a visual illusion test, and a measure of the representativeness heuristic. We found evidence for a decontextualized cognitive–perceptual style in socially atomized participants, which included those high in narcissism and also those who had a combination of high independent and low interdependent self-construal. A meta-analytic integration of our findings found that narcissism was positively related to independent and negatively related to interdependent self-construal, and mediation analyses found some evidence that the relationship between self-construal and cognitive–perceptual style is partially mediated by narcissism.

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