It turns out there's a reason your male boss is so obsessed with himself: Society hardwired him to act that way.
In a provocative new study published in the March issue of the journal Psychological Bulletin, psychologists at the University at Buffalo showed that men outscore women in just about every measure of narcissism.
The researchers, who analyzed 31 years' worth of personality test results from 475,000 people, found that while men and women are equally vain, men across generations tend to be more narcissistic in every other way, including having inflated self-esteem and a greater sense of entitlement.
This is likely related to gendered social norms, said Emily Grijalva, an assistant professor of organization and human resources at the university and the study's lead author.
"Although entitlement is undesirable for both genders... women will be penalized more harshly for acting entitled than men because entitlement is inconsistent with stereotypes that tend to emphasize women being caring and nurturing," she told The Huffington Post.
While narcissism can be healthy in moderation -- Grijalva noted that narcissists often make good first impressions, have good self-esteem and are identified as leaders -- being overly concerned with one's appearance or reputation can have significant downsides.
"They can also be exploitative, entitled, lack empathy for others, and have trouble maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships," she said.
The researchers looked at three facets of narcissism: leadership, assertiveness and desire for power; confidence, inflated self-esteem and exhibitionism; and a sense of entitlement.
Men tended to show greater assertiveness and desire for power than women, and showed a particularly elevated sense of entitlement. That suggests that men might be more likely to feel that they deserve special privileges and may be more likely to exploit others for their own ends, the study said.
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