I, narcissist – vanity, social media, and the human condition

Is social media turning a relatively modest species into a pack of publicity-hungry narcissists? Or were we already inherently self-absorbed?

The Guardian newspaper article examines these questions. Below is a smidgeon of snippets from The Guardian newspaper article.

In the US, diagnoses of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have risen sharply over the past 10 years: the rate of increase is comparable to the rise in the rate of obesity.

Numerous studies claim to have made direct links between the increase in NPD and the ubiquity of social media. Behaviours such as attempting to attract more followers, wanting to tell followers about your life, and the need to project a positive image at all times have been described by researchers as examples of exhibiting narcissistic personality traits on social media. A direct link has also been found between the number of Facebook friends a person has and the prevalence of socially disruptive traits commonly associated with narcissism.

NPD gained prominence in the 1960s and official criteria for diagnosis were created in 1980. Characteristics of NPD include a deep need for admiration, an inflated sense of one’s own importance, and a lack of empathy for others. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, other diagnostic criteria of narcissistic personality disorder include dreaming of unlimited success; craving attention from other people, but showing few warm feelings in return; and choosing friends based on their prestige and status rather than personal qualities. As an observer, it’s easy to draw parallels between the way people behave on social media and narcissistic traits.

Read the complete article on The Guardian web site here.

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