We're Only Human

The 10 Most Narcissistic U.S. Presidents

Emory University psychological scientist Scott Lilienfeld and his student Ashley Watts recently found evidence that a personality trait called “grandiose narcissism” predicts greatness in U.S. presidents—and also malignancy. They report this evidence in an article that will appear in the journal Psychological Science in the months ahead. In the course of doing this research, they had experts rate the first 42 American leaders on this and other personality dimensions. Here are the ten presidents who ranked highest on grandiose narcissism, and the ten who ranked lowest:

1. Lyndon Johnson

2. Theodore Roosevelt

3. Andrew Jackson

4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

5. John Kennedy

6. Richard Nixon

7. Bill Clinton

8. Chester Arthur

9. Andrew Johnson

10. Woodrow Wilson

33.  James Garfield

34. William McKinley

35. Rutherford B. Hayes

36. James Madison

37. William Howard Taft

38. Calvin Coolidge

39. Ulysses Grant

40. Grover Cleveland

41. James Monroe

42.Millard Fillmore


For those interested in the modern presidency, George W. Bush ranked 11, much higher than his father, George H.W. Bush, who ranked 26. Ronald Reagan ranked 15. Jimmy Carter ranked 20, just below George Washington. And Ford ranked 31, just above Abraham Lincoln. The study did not include Barack Obama.

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I cannot imagine any preident that has come close to the narcissistic level of Obama . Redo your study and post again please.

I’d say you’re pretty much on target. I would have ranked Bush II a bit higher but it did seem he was always posturing rather than presenting himself in any kind of genuine manner. I think the college student Bush was probably more narcissistic than the president who realized quickly that he was in way over his head. I’d say Obama is about right as well.

I find it difficult to swallow that Reagan is ranked only 15th on the scale of Narcissistic Presidents. Here is a Professional actor, who laid pitifully in a hospital bed telling the boys, just “win one for the Gipper.” Reagan became President of the Screen Actors Guild, but he turned his back on his friends to become a sort of spy turning fellow actors into the House Committee on UnAmerican activities, and Joe McCarthy during the Red Scare. These actors were black-listed and unable to find work afterwards for many years.
He becomes Governor, but had his sights set on becoming President all along… No, Reagan cannot be only 15th on this list.. He even called the FBI on his now long deceased daughter, so that they could follow her and her boyfriend, whom Reagan disapproved of… Wrong! Someone show me anyone MORE narcissistic!

Is there some political bias or something here? I mean how do you determine these things about presidents you couldn’t have possibly known? Abraham Lincoln? Seems to me he suffered bipolar disorder, but narcissism? How could we know that? Obama fits the very profile (no, I’m not a conservative. I just know this disorder very well.) of NPD. (Read Sam Vaknin’s book)

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