Facebook Linked To Narcissism, You Don’t Say?

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New research released last week links people with large numbers of friends and tons of status updates to narcissism, you don’t say? The research suggests that there is a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the degree to which you are a “socially disruptive narcissist.

According to this report at the Guardian:

People who score highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire had more friends on Facebook, tagged themselves more often and updated their news feeds more regularly.

The link between narcissism and Facebook isn’t new however the study published in the Journal Of Personality and Individual Differences is the first study to show the direct relationship between Facebook friends and the most ‘toxic” elements of narcissistic personality disorder. To further back this research, researchers at Western Illinois University studied a group of 294 students between ages 18 and 65, measuring  two of the most socially disruptive elements of narcissistic personality disorder.

The first element, grandiose exhibitionism (GE) and entitlement/exploitativeness (EE). People who score high in the GE aspect of narcissism need to be the center of attention. They are also the kind of people who say shocking and inappropriate things because they can’t stand to be ignored or miss a chance for self promotion.

EE includes “a sense of deserving respect and a willingness to manipulate and take advantage of others”.  The research showed that those who scored highly with GE and EE were likely to accept friend requests from strangers. They were also likely to accept social support from strangers but then not provide it.

Much of this research can be attributed to the way that self-esteem is taught in American schools and with American children. Parents, mentors and educators are pushing the “self-esteem” agenda so far that some end up with an inflated sense of self-worth. When a child becomes of age to start using and interacting with social networks they look to replicate the “me, me, me” attention that was taught by the adult influencers in their lives.

While the intention of those influencers was of course to make sure kids didn’t have low self-esteem in some it was over inflated during childhood so now these young adults are always right, have the best ideas, and want to be the center of attention. It goes back to  “Mom and Dad said I’m great so you need to say I’m great too”.

Researcher Chris Carpenter who ran the study said:

“If Facebook is to be a place where people go to repair their damaged ego and seek social support, it is vitally important to discover the potentially negative communication one might find on Facebook and the kinds of people likely to engage in them. Ideally, people will engage in pro-social Facebooking rather than anti-social me-booking.”

Speaking of Facebook, please help us fuel our egos and “like” us as much as we like ourselves.  We can be found here

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