A new study suggests that narcissistic people are less likely to support democracy.

They are also more likely to feel that democracies are not good in maintaining order, or that it would be better if countries were run by strong leaders or the military, say researchers from the University of Kent in England and the Polish Academy of Sciences.

This is probably because narcissists tend to feel entitled and superior to others, which results in lower tolerance of diverse political opinions, the researchers note.

In contrast, people who take a positive, non-defensive self-view and trust others are more likely to show support for democracy, according to the study’s findings.

The study consisted of two parts that analyzed the relationship between different types of self-evaluation — narcissism and self-esteem — and support for democracy in the United States and Poland.

The researchers, led by Dr. Aleksandra Cichocka of Kent’s School of Psychology, and Dr. Marta Marchlewska of the Polish Academy of Sciences, set out to understand the psychological mechanisms driving support for democracy. They built on previous research that demonstrated that basic personality traits can predict broader opinions about the organization of the social world.

“The jury is out on whether the new generations are becoming more narcissistic than previous ones, but it is important to monitor how societal changes can affect the self,” said Cichocka.

“We need to make sure we are not fostering feelings of entitlement or expectations of special treatment. In the end, these processes may have important implications for our social and political attitudes.”

The study was published in the British Journal of Social Psychology.

Source: University of Kent