The Internet ‘Narcissism Epidemic’

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‘We are in the midst of a “narcissism epidemic,” concluded psychologists Jean M. Twnege and W. Keith Campbell in their 2009 book. One study they describe showed that among a group of 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as quickly as obesity from the 1980s to the present…

Evidence for the rise in narcissism continues to come up in research and news. A study
by psychologist Dr. Nathan DeWall and his team
found “a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and
hostility in popular music” since the 1980s. Shawn Bergman, an assistant
professor of
organizational psychology at Appalachian State University in Boone,
North Carolina notes that “narcissism levels among millennials are higher than
previous generations.”

Researchers at Western Illinois University measured
two socially disruptive aspects of
narcissistic personalities — grandiose exhibitionism and
entitlement/exploitativeness. Those who had high scores on grandiose
exhibitionism tended to
amass more friends on Facebook. Buffardi and Campbell found a high
correlation between Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) scores and Facebook
. Researchers were able to identify those with high NPI scores by studying their Facebook pages.

Elias Aboujaoude, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford, notes
that our ability tailor the Internet experience
to our every need is making us more narcissistic. He observes, “This
shift from e- to i- in prefixing Internet URLs and naming electronic
gadgets and apps parallels the rise of the self-absorbed online
Narcissus.” He goes on to state that, “As we get accustomed to having
even our most minor needs …
accommodated to this degree, we are growing more needy and more
entitled. In other words, more narcissistic.” ‘ (The Atlantic)

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