The Facing Narcissism project consists of seven individual, yet collaborative studies. The research employs multiple qualitative and quantitative methods, including conversation analysis, narrative analysis, neuroimaging, psychophysiology and facial expression recognition technology. The data ranges from video recordings of naturally occurring encounters to experiments in laboratory and online.
Nar­ciss­ism in in­formal con­ver­sa­tions

Using conversation analysis, we investigate video-recorded conversations between narcissistic and non-narcissistic subjects. We analyse the ways in which narcissism shapes the speakers’ claims of recipients’ attention, their depiction of themselves in the talk and the recipients’ ways of displaying attention and affiliation with the speakers. 

Nar­ciss­ism in physiolo­gical re­sponses

In this project, we investigate narcissistic and non-narcissistic subjects’ physiological responses to face-threats in conversation. We will combine psycho-physiological measurements and conversation analytic methods. 

Nar­ciss­ism and the con­cern for the oth­er's face

We will do a brain imaging experiment to find out how the neural responses to face threats on self and those on the other overlap or differ. Here, too, we will be comparing non-narcissistic and narcissistic subjects. Through this experiment, we want to clarify something that Goffman was ambivalent about: are we equally concerned about the other’s face as our own? The brain imaging experiment will be complemented by a study on self experience as it emerges on an online platform. 

Nar­ciss­ism in dia­gnostic in­ter­views

Using conversation analysis, we will find out how clinicians understand and deal with the patient’s problematic self-experience in diagnostic interviews with patients who have personality disorders. We will trace the diagnostic reasoning through the assessment process, and investigate the ways in which clinicians give the diagnosis and patients receive it. 

Nar­ciss­ism in couple ther­apy

We analyse video-recorded couple therapy sessions with patients who have borderline or narcissistic personality disorder. Focusing on descriptions of self, other, and the attribution of responsibility of marital problems, we expect that personality disoders involve increased sensitivity to face loss, as well as unilateral efforts to save one’s face.

Challenging the patient's self in psychotherapy

Using video and audio recordings of psychotherapeutic sessions, we investigate the interactional practices whereby the therapists challenge the clients' explicit or implicit self-presentation. While Goffman pointed out that interactants usually respect and protect each other's self-presentations, our research shows that in psychotherapy, the clients' self is regularly called into question. 

Narcissistic self-experience in everyday life

Using qualitative in-depth interviews, we will describe the particular challenges that individuals who consider themselves narcissistic face in everyday life. How do the experiences of vulnerability and grandiosity emerge in social relations, how are these experiences perceived and managed, what kind of problems they cause, and how they possibly help in life?