Narcissus Goes to College: A Consideration of Dispositional Narcissism as a Variable for Student Learning in Higher Education

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

For over a century, the enigmatic nature of narcissism has been the source of debate across psychological, sociological, and developmental domains. Although much has been written in recent years about narcissism as a generational phenomenon, referencing data collected from university undergraduates, there is little to no applied research and discussion into the implications for teaching and learning with respect to the reciprocal interactions between narcissistic students and traditional undergraduate education. Recognizing this paucity in the literature, the manuscripts within this dissertation draw theoretical and empirical connections between narcissism and learning, highlighting significant relationships between narcissism as a dispositional construct and achievement goal orientation. Through the development of a theoretical Triarchic Model of Dispositional Narcissism and the empirical exploration of its viability, this dissertation is written in accordance with sentiments that suggest educational psychologists seek to improve learning through a more comprehensive recognition of the variables that contribute to cognitive processes. The theoretical design, research, and interpretations within this dissertation seek to provide a heuristic through which educators may develop proactive, interventive instructional models and pedagogies that will encourage all students to improve their learning by engaging in strategies that lead to deeper cognitive and metacognitive processing.

narcissism, goal orientation, learning, extraversion, agreeableness