ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (10): 1796-1807.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.01796

• Meta-Analysis • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The relationship between narcissism and BIS/BAS: A meta-analysis

CHENG Hao1, ZHANG Yali2, YAO Xue1, ZHANG Xiangkui1()   

  1. 1School of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
    2School of Education, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2020-09-21 Online:2021-10-15 Published:2021-08-23
  • Contact: ZHANG Xiangkui


Since the 1980s, narcissism has become more and more popular in research. Narcissism may be important for developing self-consciousness and guiding the future. Narcissism is regarded as an aspect of the evolution of human psychological adaptation, but the specific physical, psychological and social reasons of narcissism have yet to be determined. Temperament is the basis for the formation and development of personality, and an important susceptibility factor for the formation of narcissistic personality. Campbell's agency model connects narcissism with the level of approach and avoidance behaviors, and believes that narcissism as a self-regulating behavioral system, with a clear focus on motivation to approach rewarding stimuli. Gray divides personality traits into two basic, separate and brain-motivation systems responsible for behavior regulation: the aversive and the appetitive motivation systems. The aversive motivation system is called the behavior inhibition system. This system is responsible for controlling anxiety caused by specific stimuli. The behavioral activation system is associated with dopaminergic function and controls desire motivation. The system is sensitive to positive signals, reward, and avoidance of punishment, and its activation can regulate targeted behaviors. Gray's Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory believes that the Behavioral Approach System represents approaching expected reward behavior, and the Behavioral Inhibition System represents anxiety, behaviors that are activated by approaching avoidance conflict and are related to memory, environment, and risk. Numerous studies have explored the relationship between narcissism and BIS/BAS. Previous studies have found that the correlation between narcissism and BIS/BAS is not completely consistent. Due to the input errors in some data and the reliability of the scale has not been corrected, which may affect the authenticity and reliability of the results. In addition, in the analysis process, the quality of the literature, the single homogeneity test method, and the publication bias of the literature were not considered. Our study uses a more comprehensive and accurate meta-analysis method to analyze the relationship between narcissism and BIS/BAS, and explores whether there are moderated variables that lead to inconsistencies in the experimental results, avoiding the bias of a single study restricted by the sample size, and obtaining more general, more precise conclusions. Through literature retrieval, 25 independent effect sizes together with 7702 participants which met the inclusion criteria of meta-analysis were selected. Homogeneity test indicated that random effects model was appropriate for the meta-analysis. The results of funnel plot and Egger's intercept illustrated no publication bias. Main-effect test indicated a significant negative correlation between narcissism and BIS (r = -0.27, 95% CI = [-0.34, -0.21]). Further moderation analysis revealed that the association between narcissism and BIS was moderated by measurement tools of narcissism; Main-effect test indicated a significant positive correlation between narcissism and BAS (r = 0.46, 95% CI = [0.40, 0.52]). Further moderation analysis revealed that the association between narcissism and BAS was moderated by participant types. The results supported the agency model of narcissism and the revised reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality.

Key words: narcissism, behavioral activation system, behavioral inhibition system, meta-analysis

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