For this study, this, researchers Emily Zitek and Alexander Jordan first pointed out in this summary (link is external)that previous studies found that “entitled” people—technically, individuals with a higher sense of entitlement – are more likely to believe they deserve preferences and resources that others don’t. And, that they are also less concerned about what is socially acceptable or beneficial.
The aim of the new study was to explore the underlying reasons for that. Zitek and Jordan first identified those who were more likely to avoid following instructions in a word search. After establishing that people who scored high on measures of “entitled personality” were less likely to follow instructions, they provided a set of scenarios to try to understand why the entitled individuals ignore the instructions: selfishness, control, or punishment. But none of those affected the outcomes: Entitled people still wouldn’t follow instructions. It surprised the researchers that it was so hard to get entitled individuals to follow instructions.
But that shouldn’t be surprising: We know—from psychotherapy and general psychological observation—that people who demonstrate features of a narcissistic personality, especially marked by a sense of entitlement in their conduct, often behave that way.