Tuesday, February 16, 2016

feeding shallow cravings to be admired

A 2010 study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found that the percentage of college students exhibiting narcissistic personality traits, based on their scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a widely used diagnostic test, has increased by more than half since the early 1980s, to 30 percent. In their book “Narcissism Epidemic,” the psychology professors Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell show that narcissism has increased as quickly as obesity has since the 1980s. Even our egos are getting fat.


This is a costly problem. While full-blown narcissists often report high levels of personal satisfaction, they create havoc and misery around them. There is overwhelming evidence linking narcissism with lower honesty and raised aggression.

In the Greek myth, Narcissus falls in love not with himself, but with his reflection. In the modern version, Narcissus would fall in love with his own Instagram feed, and starve himself to death while compulsively counting his followers.

If our egos are obese with amour-propre, social media can indeed serve up the empty emotional carbs we crave. Instagram and the like doesn’t create a narcissist, but studies suggest it acts as an accelerant — a near ideal platform to facilitate what psychologists call “grandiose exhibitionism.” No doubt you have seen this in others, and maybe even a little of it in yourself as you posted a flattering selfie — and then checked back 20 times for “likes.”

The soulful connection with another person, the enjoyment of a beautiful hike alone (not shared on Facebook) or a prayer of thanks over your sleeping child (absent a #blessed tweet) could be considered expressions of amour de soi.

Extracts; source: Narcissism Is Increasing. So You’re Not So Special

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