The guy down the hall from you might be an arrogant jerk – but what kind of arrogant jerk? There are three types of arrogance, according to a new literature review team of psychology researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and they broke them down into “levels.”
Nelson Cowan, a Curators Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science, led the study.
“We were surprised at the limited amount of modern research we found on arrogance,” Cowan said in a release of the group’s findings. “Furthermore, we found it didn’t all come from one specific area. So we created a one-stop resource to inspire further research, including, but not limited to, possible medical diagnoses of personality disorders.”
There are three distinct types of arrogance, Cowan and his team found.
- Individual arrogance. This might be the most familiar type. An outsized opinion of one’s own abilities or accomplishments, this person could be your standard Saturday-night date or your boss. Annoying, but harmless.
- Competitive arrogance. This person has an exaggerated sense of their own abilities or accomplishments as compared to others. If they’re a tennis player, they probably think they could give Venus Williams a run for her money on the court.
- Antagonistic arrogance. This type is probably the most serious; the type of person who enjoys the “denigration of others based on an assumption of superiority.” The antagonistically arrogant person shows or feels “active opposition or hostility” towards someone or something,” suggesting their aggression.
“Arrogance isn’t just about interpersonal relationships – it spans all types of relationships,” Cowan said. “The system created with the study could be applied to… even dialogues between nations and politician groups.”
The review was published in the Review of General Psychology.
Besides Cowan, other authors included Eryn J. Adams, Sabrina Bhangal, Mike Corcoran, Reed Decker, Ciera E. Dockter, Abby T. Eubank, Courtney L. Gann, Nathaniel R. Greene, Ashley C. Helle, Namyeon Lee, Anh T. Nguyen, Kyle R. Ripley, John E. Scofield, Melissa A. Tapia, Katie L. Threlkeld and Ashley L. Watts. Funding was provided by a NIAAA grant.