That narcissists have found their ultimate platforms in the world of social media is a hard premise to dispute. Just check out your Facebook feed for a reminder of all the awesome things your most popular friends are doing.
But a new study out of Western Illinois University has dug deeper into the relationship, linking particular behaviours on Facebook with the negative aspects of narcissism, according to The Guardian.
The details are intriguing – and may sound a few notes of caution for Facebook addicts.
People who scored high on a widely used test called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire “had more friends on Facebook, tagged themselves more often and updated their news feeds more regularly,” The Guardian reports.
Narcissists also responded more aggressively to derogatory comments made about them and changed their profile pictures more often.
Researchers studying the Facebook habits of 294 students, ages 18 to 65, measured two “socially disruptive” elements of narcissism.
Grandiose exhibitionism (GE) includes self-absorption, vanity, superiority and exhibitionistic tendencies, according to The Guardian. People who score high on this aspect of narcissism need to be constantly at the centre of attention.
“They often say shocking things and inappropriately self-disclose because they cannot stand to be ignored or waste a chance of self-promotion,” the article says.
The second aspect is called entitlement/exploitativeness (EE) and it includes “a sense of deserving respect and a willingness to manipulate and take advantage of others.”
The study found that the higher someone scored on GE, the greater the number of friends they had on Facebook. Some subjects in the study had more than 800 friends. People who scored high on both EE and GE were more likely to accept friend requests from strangers and seek social support but less likely to provide it to others.
Lead researcher Christopher Carpenter told The Guardian: “In general, the ‘dark side’ of Facebook requires more research in order to better understand Facebook’s socially beneficial and harmful aspects in order to enhance the former and curtail the latter.”
How much narcissism have you seen on Facebook or other social media platforms? How many Facebook friends do you have?