5 Surefire Signs Someone You Care About is A Narcissist Writing for the Huff Post Sharon Greenthal describes these five signs: Believing that you're better than others; fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness; exaggerating your achievements or talents; expecting constant praise and admiration; and believing that you're special and acting accordingly. Published February 24, 2014.
23 Signs You're Secretly a Narcissist Masquerading as a Sensitive Introvert Past research has suggested that there are two types of Narcissism: "Grandiosity-Exhibitionism" and "Vulnerability-Sensitivity". While both types share a common core of traits including conceit, arrogance, and the tendency to give in to one's own needs and disregard others they present differently according to research summarized in this article. Includes a 23-item scale measuring Hypersensitive Narcissism.
The 10 Most Narcissistic U.S. Presidents 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 in a new study published in Psychological Science and summarized here, May 8, 2013.
The Dance Between Codependents & Narcissists This article from PsychCentral describes the "codependency dance" between the narcissistic taker/controller and the codependent pleaser/fixer.
A Day In The Life of a Narcissist Psychology Today writer Susan Krauss Whitbourne outlines the characteristics that define narcissism, how it changes over the lifespan, and the problematic behavior narcissists consistently engage in. Published September 13, 2011.
How To Get A Narcissist to Feel Empathy Narcissists can feel empathy if they put themselves in another person’s shoes according research by Erica Hepper and colleagues, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and summarized here for PsyBlog, May 2014.
Is Narcissism Essential for Success? The Association for Psychological Science reports the results of a study which suggests that While narcissists are more likely to garner leadership positions, there was no evidence of a link between narcissism and a leader’s success . . . the poorest leaders are those with either extremely high or extremely low levels of narcissism. January 17, 2014.
Narcissism Unleashed: Can an Entire Culture Be Narcissistic? W. Keith Campbell and Jean M. Twenge review recent research which suggests a cultural epidemic of narcissism. The self-centeredness, arrogance, and self-absorption of individual narcissists may actually describe quite well American culture of the present day. From the Association for Psychological Science Observer, December 2013.
A Fate That Narcissists Will Hate: Being Ignored Narcissists, much to the surprise of many experts, are in the process of becoming an endangered species . . . The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (due out in 2013, and known as DSM-5) has eliminated five of the 10 personality disorders that are listed in the current edition. Narcissistic personality disorder is the most well-known of the five, and its absence has caused the most stir in professional circles. Read all about the controversy in this article by Charles Zanor in The New York Times, November 29, 2010.
A Field Guide to Narcissism Narcissists are charming, exasperating, captivating—and sometimes downright ludicrous. The weird world of the megalomaniac, explained. By Carl Vogel, for Psychology Today (published on January 01, 2006 - last reviewed on December 28, 2011).
Are Narcissists As Sexy As They Think? Narcissists think they are sexy. But, then again, they would say that. New research by Dufner et al. (2013) published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and summarized here in PsyBlog suggests that the self-enhancing thoughts and beliefs of narcissists actually make them more attractive to others.
Are Narcissists Everywhere? In a Word . . . YES! Between the internet, TV stars, professional athletes, and more, our society encourages and rewards narcissistic behavior. According to some, We live in the "Me Decade" on steroids!. By Thomas G. Plante for Psychology Today, March 6, 2012.
Arrogant, Moi? Investigating Narcissists' insight into Their Traits, Behavior and Reputation Research by Erika Carlson and colleagues suggests that Narcissists do have genuine insight into their narcissism [but] They seem to perceive narcissism as a 'get ahead' trait that brings them personal gain ... a personal strength, and [they] justify their narcissism in terms of the benefits it has for them. Read more in this summary from the British Psychological Society Research Digest, June 4, 3013.
Behind the Facade: The False Self of the Narcissist To compensate for a true sense of self, narcissists develop a false self according to Randi Kreger for Psychology Today, November 28, 2011.
Big Egos in Business Ever notice that the office narcissist is often your boss? Narcissists are considered a liability in business. But sometimes their lack of empathy and inherent selfishness helps them rise straight to the top. According to this article by Carlin Flora, for Psychology Today (published on January 13, 2004 - last reviewed on January 12, 2011).
The Culture of Narcissism The New York Times writer Ross Douthat reflects on a recent finding reported at the June 2010 APS conference which found that college students have become less empathetic since 2000. Is this the demise of community service or is a bit of Look out world, here I come mentality necessary to change the world? From June 2, 2010.
Do Narcissists Really Hate Themselves Deep Down Inside? Is Narcissism just a mask that covers up insecurities? Probably not. Read about how narcissists think of themselves in this summary by Joshua D. Foster from Psychology Today, July 17, 2008.
Facebook Profiles Can Be Used to Detect Narcissism Science Daily summarizes research by Laura Buffardi and W. Keith Campbell which found that people who are narcissistic use Facebook in a self-promoting way that can be identified by others.
Gender and the Narcissist An overview of gender differences in narcissism and the finding that most narcissists are male.
Getting Over a Narcissistic Mother How narcissistic mothers impact their daughters and what adult daughters can do to cope. By Carlin Flora for Psychology Today, September 23, 2008.
The Healthy Side of Narcissism Despite the problems with being narcissistic, some have suggested that it's okay to be a little narcissistic. There are reasons to believe that having the right amount of adaptive narcissism may be particularly adaptive in helping people maintain healthy habits. By Susan Krauss Whitbourne for Psychology Today, January 24, 2012.
He Loves Me Not? Impossible! Narcissists make notoriously bad life partners. But their talent for deflecting negative feedback may help their relationships run smoothly in the short term. By Carlin Flora, for Psychology Today, (published on July 01, 2005 - last reviewed on March 02, 2012).
Higher Rate of Narcissism for Those Born After 1982? A brief summary of research by Twenge et al. (2007) finding a steady increase in the rate of narcissism in American college students from 1982 to 2006. By Stephanie Sarkis, for Psychology Today, March 4, 2012.
How Dare You Say Narcissism Is Increasing? To satisfy the critics --- and the curious --- Jean Twenge provides the psychological evidence behind her New York Times article (available here ) claiming that today's young people are more narcissistic than previous generations. From Psychology Today, August 12, 2013.
How To Spot A Narcissist The paradox of narcissism is If narcissists were just jerks, they would be easy to avoid. The fact that they are entertaining and exciting as well as aggressive and manipulative makes them compelling in the real world and as subjects of psychological scrutiny. This, according to Scott Barry Kaufman for Psychology Today, (published on July 5, 2011 - last reviewed on March 2, 2012).
I Love Me!: A Q&A About Narcissism Psychotherapist Samuel López De Victoria presents this overview of Narcissism to answer people's most often asked questions. From Psych Central blog, April 18, 2012.
The Incredibly Seductive Pull of a Very Skilled Narcissist Psychologist Samuel Lopez De Victoria discusses 7 characteristics which can make a narcissist both appealing and dangerous to others including charm, storytelling ability, believability, wisdom, acting ability and others.
The Internet Narcissism Epdemic Could the Internet be making us more narcissistic? Read about how social media -- including Facebook activity -- correlates with Narcissism.
Is Your Boss a Narcissist? According to research by Amy Brunell and colleagues published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, December, 2008, and briefly summarized here, chances are he or she is.
Narcissism and Celebrity Relationships According to Roy Baumeister for Psychology Today "Being a celebrity goes with thinking you are a superior being. When two such big egos fall in love with each other, it may be great at first, because they congratulate themselves and each other on such a star-studded match. But as weeks turn into years and maintaining a relationship starts to require accommodation, compromise, and occasional self-sacrifice, narcissists start to see other options as more appealing.'' Published July 5, 2008.
The Narcisism and Grandiosity of Celebrities According to Gad Saad, for Psychology Today, many celebrities are a self-selected group of narcissists who thrive on the undue attention they reciveve so much so that they start to believe that they are so much more than a mere celebrity. Published June 15, 2009.
Narcissism in High-Functioning Individuals – Big Ego or Severe Disorder? [T]here are certain personality disorders that are easier to spot for the non-professional, because they dramatically hinder the normal functioning of individuals in society. While common people tend to be able to spot a common and identifiable disorder like major depression, which may prevent individuals from going to work and going out, for example, they rarely put a name on certain types of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, often dismissing it as just a big ego problem. according to Veronica Pamoukaghlian of BrainBlogger, who discusses the under-diagnosis and describes various types of narcissism in this summary from November 9, 2010.
Narcissism May Benefit the Young, Researchers Report; But Older Adults? Not So Much A new study suggests that some forms of narcissism may be beneficial -- at least in the short term -- for making the transition into adulthood. This, according to research by Patrick Hill and Brent Roberts, published this month in Social Psychological and Personality Science and summarized here in Science Daily, August 11, 2011.
The Narcissism Epidemic According to research reviewed by Jean M. Twenge, this may well be the most narcissistic generation ever. From Psychology Today, May 8, 2009.
Narcissism: Why it's So Rampant in Politics According to Leon F. Seltzer for Psychology Today, narcissistic politicians ''don't serve the people; they serve themselves. Published December 21, 2011.
The Narcissist's Dilemma: They Can Dish It out, But . . . When criticized, narcissists show themselves woefully incapable of retaining any emotional poise, or receptivity. And it really doesn't much matter whether the nature of that criticism is constructive or destructive. They just don't seem to be able to take criticism, period. At the same time, these disturbed individuals demonstrate an abnormally developed capacity to criticize others (as in, "dish it out" to them). By Leon F. Seltzer for Psychology Today, October 12, 2011.
Narcissists' Lack of Empathy Detected in Brain Scans Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of 34 people, including 17 individuals who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, and found that pathological narcissists have less gray matter in a part of the cerebral cortex called the left anterior insula according to research published in The Journal of Psychiatric Research and summarized here in Live Science, June 24, 2013.
Narcissists Look Like Good Leaders --- But They Aren't Narcissists rise to the top. That's because other people think their qualities—confidence, dominance, authority, and self-esteem—make them good leaders. However, this is not the case according to research by Barbora Nevicka and others published in Psychological Science, September 2011, and summarized here.
Narcissists' Overconfidence May Hide Low Self-Esteem Narcissists may seem to love themselves, but a new study finds that narcissistic self-aggrandizement may hide deep feelings of inferiority according to research by Erin Myers as published in the Journal of Research in Personality and summarized here in LiveScience, October 20, 2011.
Narcissists Already Know What You Think of Them, But Do They Care? Research suggests that narcissists know that others do not share their inflated self-view and think they have a problem but they often choose to do nothing about it. This suggests that narcissism is a character disorder rather than a personality disorder according to this summary by David DiSalvo for the Psychology Today Neuronarrative blog, October 31, 2011.
New Social Media Study Investigates Relationships Among Facebook Use, Narcissism and Empathy A study by Tracy Alloway and colleagues and summarized here for “ScienceDaily” suggests that a some features of Facebook, like profile photos are linked to narcissism, while others, like chatting are linked to empathy. According to Alloway, “Every narcissist needs a reflecting pool. Just as Narcissus gazed into the pool to admire his beauty, social networking sites, like Facebook, have become our modern-day pool.” July 3, 2014.
The Person Inside the Present: Narcissists Buy to Big Themselves Up Just as you suspected, people with narcissistic tendencies want to purchase products, both for others and for themselves, that positively distinguish them -- that is, that make them stand out from the crowd according to research summarized here in ScienceDaily, December 17, 2012.
Personality Predicts Cheating More Than Academic Struggles According to research by Delroy Paulhus and colleagues published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied and summarized here, College students who admitted to cheating in high school or turned in plagiarized papers ranked high on personality tests of the so-called Dark Triad: psychopathy, Machiavellianism (cynicism, amorality, manipulativeness), and narcissism (arrogance and self-centeredness, with a strong sense of entitlement). Of the three dark personality types, psychopathy was most strongly linked to cheating. From Science Daily, September 8, 2010.
Reflecting on Narcissism On the one hand, You can look at individual scores of narcissism, you can look at data on lifetime prevalence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you can look at related cultural trends, and they all point to one thing . . . Narcissism is on the rise. On the other, Kids today are remarkably similar to previous generations, at least in terms of their traits and behaviors. Read about what current research has to say about narcissism and American culture today.
Seeing Narcissists Everywhere Jean M. Twenge, author of Generation Me and The Narcissism Epidemic talks about her research and the high rate of narcissism today compared to earlier generations in this interview with the New York Times, August 5, 2013. Also see a listing of the relevant psychological evidence in support of her claims here.
Self-promotion on Facebook Correlates With Narcissism Students who use technology for self-promotion tend to be more narcissistic than those who simply use technology to connect to others according to research by Meghan M. Saculla and W. Pitt Derryberry and summarized in this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2011.
Song Lyrics Suggest Narcissism Is On the Rise Nathan DeWall and his colleagues analyzed the lyrics of songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart from 1980 to 2007. They found a statistically significant trend toward narcissism in the music, with the words "I" and "me" gradually replacing "we" and "us." Read about his work in this article from Life Science, April 26, 2011.
Talking to a Narcissist We all know narcissistic people and that can make for unsatisfactory interactions. Psychotherapist Bill Snow has come up with seven rules for talking to a narcissist that are offered as straight advice but sound like a parody. By Nigel Barber, for Psychology Today, February 29, 2012.
Why We Love Narcissists (At First) Despite being self-absorbed, arrogant, entitled and exploitative, narcissists are also fascinating. And not just from a clinical perspective; the research finds that we are strangely drawn to their self-centered personalities, their dominance and their hostility, their sensitivity and their despair, at least for a while. This article from PsyBlog summarizes new research from Mitja Back and Stefan Schmukle (2010), Why are narcissists so charming at first sight? Decoding the narcissism–popularity link at zero acquaintance, from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 132-145.
Assignments, Exercises, and Activities
Assessing Personality via Social Media Postings TruthSerum.com claims to assess personality though people's social media posts. Users can analyze their own personality and see how they compare to Barak Obama, Mitt Romney, Abraham Lincoln, the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and some 135 other famous people on Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy (aka, Psychoticism).
Vladimir Putin, Narcissist? Writing for The Atlantic, Joseph Burgo examines how the concept of narcissism might provide insight into the Russian leader. Published April 15, 2014.
Examples and Illustrations
Tests, Measures, and Scales
Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale This 23-item scale was recently presented by Jonathan Cheek, Holly Hendin, and Paul Wink at the 2013 Association for Research in Personality conference.
Narcissism Among Celebrities, on Facebook and in Shakespeare From the website: Are celebrities really more narcissistic than you are? Is your Facebook page telling the world that you are a narcissist? And finally: who is Shakespeare’s most narcissistic character? I’ll give you a hint: the character can be found in Twelfth Night. So if you’re looking for more information about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or just everyday narcissism, as well as examples of famous narcissists, you’ll find it in this in this episode of The Psych Files. (Episode 110; Originally released November 22, 2009).