Research links Brexit vote to xenophobia and narcissism

British citizens who fear immigrants and thought they threatened their values and way of life were more likely to have voted Brexit

And the results, partly driven by narcissism, were regardless of their age, gender or level of education.

The research, published in Frontiers in Psychology, identified ‘collective narcissism’ as a new voting variable.

Scientists from the UK, Poland and Portugal measured the effect of xenophobia on voting behaviour, and found that it was strongly related to voting in favour of Brexit.

Led by Dr Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, from Goldsmiths, University of London, the researchers then tried to establish what kind of people believe that immigrants threaten the UK.

They found three distinct groups: authoritarians, who fear other groups will threaten the status quo; people who compete for their group’s dominance over immigrants; and collective narcissists, who believe the UK is entitled to privileged treatment but complain this ‘true importance and value’ is not recognised by other countries.

Importantly, the research also found that people who just valued their British identity were not more likely to reject immigrants or vote for Brexit.

File photo of Boris Johnson making his Vote Leave speech in Preston, Lancs., along with Michael Gove and Priti Patel as they bring their Brexit roadshow to the Lancashire city. 1 June 2016. The bus used in the Vote Leave campaign has now been bought by Greenpeace.

Dr Golec de Zavala said this research introduces collective narcissism as a new variable to consider when making predictions for political behavior.

She said: “From Brexit, Trump and support for Vladimir Putin in Russia to the nationalist, ultra- conservative government in Poland, studies from our and other labs show that collective narcissism systematically predicts prejudice, aggression and a tendency to interpret innocent behaviors as provocation to the national group.

“Collective narcissism is not a good attitude to have.

“We should study how this becomes a group norm and find ways of preventing it from happening and spreading.

“We should vet our leaders more carefully in this respect because leaders have the power to make such attitudes normative in their groups.”

The researchers also suggest that as the study was conducted after the referendum, it may be that the ‘yes’ vote increased people’s xenophobia, and made them feel more empowered to express xenophobic attitudes.


A QUARTER of people who voted Brexit believe they were duped by Leave campaign

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2 Responses

  1. David Marchesi

    has similar research been done on those who were more likely to vote Remain ? Perhaps it would show that “comfort-zone” materialists were more likely to accept the diktats of Brussels, in cahoots, of course, with the great majority of “our” casino capitalists and with no regard for democracy.
    Neo-liberals of the world unite, and continue the cock-ups of the last forty years, which have seen a growth in the wealth gap, an increase in apathy among voters and the entrenchment of non-elected elites, mainly of bankers and other spivs.
    National sovereignty and identity are two-edged weapons, but many Brexiteers , as this report indicates, simply want to “take (back) control”, in areas of their life where the EU had invaded.
    The EU has become far too centralising, authoritarian and contemptuous of ordinary people- oh, and manipulative (cf Greece, Ireland etc where democratic “decisions” were over-ridden, in the case of Greece, ruthlessly)
    We need, above all, to use the opportunity to tackle the elite in this country, a huge task for which membership of the EU has been of no real help.

  2. Richard Lionheart (@RichardLionhea)

    Let’s get this clear:- a declared “Anti-Brexit University”, funded by a Pro-EU funded Government (Portugal), conducted a survey where they asked survey questions to more than TWICE as many Remain Voters as Leave Voters, and then they pretend its ‘impartial’ and ‘balanced’?

    What a joke. These traitorus EU stooges need chucking out the country.

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