Extreme altruism is defined as prosocial behavior that violates social norms or the law. Little research has been done on this phenomenon, although research into related areas suggests that, surprisingly, extreme altruistic activities may be associated with traits traditionally associated with narcissism. This relationship was explored by comparing members of the public, people involved in prosocial activities within socially and legally accepted realms, and members of the Real-Life Superhero (RLSH) movement. The RLSH movement is a subculture whose prosocial-directed activities often exceed social norms and legal constraints. These include patrolling and conducting community and citizen police work in superhero-inspired uniforms, which has on several occasions resulted in altercations with other civilians or with law enforcement. The results suggest that there is a relationship between certain traits within the narcissism spectrum and the proclivity to engage in extreme altruism. These traits include grandiose fantasy, self-sacrificing self-enhancement, and devaluing. Furthermore, these traits are expressed at significantly higher levels in people who engage in extreme altruism more often. Finally, a model based predominantly on narcissism indicated a strong ability to predict group membership among the three groups. The findings suggest that a reconceptualization that reflects the capacity of these traits to be expressed in a prosocial or antisocial behavior is needed to explain this relationship.

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