Scientists at the University at Buffalo School of Management examined data from more than 475,000 participants taken over the course of 31 years, and determined that men consistently scored higher in tests for narcissism, regardless of age.
The findings were published in Psychological Bulletin.
The scientists looked at gender differences in three features of narcissism: leadership and authority, exhibitionism and entitlement. Further, they looked at how people responded to statements like, “If I ruled the world, it would be a much better place.” Researchers found a large gap between the genders in the categories of leadership and entitlement – a finding indicative of how men are more likely than women to believe they deserve privileges and pursue opportunities.
Both men and women had scored identically for exhibitionist.
“Compared with women, men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power,” said lead author Emily Grijalva of University of Buffalo. “But there was no difference in the exhibitionism aspect, meaning both genders are equally likely to display vanity or self-absorption.”
The researchers said that the narcissism gap between genders likely results from ingrained societal gender stereotypes. Women who are taught they are not as worthy of leadership roles.
“Individuals tend to observe and learn gender roles from a young age, and may face backlash for deviating from society’s expectations,” Grijalva says. “In particular, women often receive harsh criticism for being