Fresh Eyes

Social Networks Fueling Narcissistic Behaviors?

By Kaneisha Montague, Editorial Intern

Universities of Kentucky, Georgia and Deusto’s departments of psychology researched the narcissism aspect of social networks. Narcissim is a personality trait marked by self-promotion, vanity, and grandiosity. Personality and Individual Differences’ study, ‘Narcissism and Implicit Attention Seeking: Evidence from linguistic analyses of social networking and online presentation’, examines how narcissism relates to how people communicate information about themselves online. Researchers expected that narcissists would communicate in ways that drew attention to themselves.

Narcissistic People have elevated levels of

  • Intelligence
  • power
  • dominance

Researchers found that in terms of the five-factor model (FFM), narcissists score highly on extraversion and low on agreeableness, making their use of social networks a method of promoting themselves to others. Research also proved that narcissists regulate their esteem through communication patterns

  •  brag about their accomplishments in conversation
  • use more first-person singular pronouns during impromptu monologues

Because pronouns offer rich information regarding how people relate to others, especially how people distinguish themselves from others, using first person singular pronouns indicates tactics narcissists use to draw attention.

To collect this data, researchers used the quantity of first-person singular pronouns as a proxy for psychological self importance. The prior, examines how narcissists who have used relatively few words that relate to themselves, communicate in virtual environments.

The Personality and Individual Differences’ study states that “how people communicate in virtual environments depends on many factors.” Their current research suggests that narcissists regulate themselves during virtual communications in a manner that may draw attention to themselves. By understanding how word use can impel or inhibit attention-seeking behaviors during online communication, their current findings can equip researchers with crucial information regarding how people regulate their online interactions with others and, potentially, how those interactions can be improved.

Researchers lastly remark that words are among the most frequently used commodities in human life. Yet, people often ignore how the words they use relate to their chronic motivations, emotions, and situations they encounter.

With the previous being said, what is to be said about new social networks on the horizon or those that have recently transitioned into being heavy trafficked networks, i.e.; Instagram? Instagram has taken the ‘photo-obsessed’ aspect of both Facebook and Twitter, and created a network singularly for the promotion of personal photos. Narcissistic as well or simply innovative?

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