Friday, January 04, 2013

The Rise Of The Narcissist

There are some overlaps between this article and the book I'm reading. Some highlights from the article:
"Over the past four decades, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being "above average" for academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability and self-confidence.

Self-appraisals of traits that are less individualistic - such as co-operativeness, understanding others and spirituality - saw little change, or a decrease, over the same period.

Students are increasingly likely to label themselves as gifted in writing ability, [yet] objective test scores indicate that actual writing ability has gone down since the 1960s.

Another study by Twenge suggested there has been a 30% tilt towards narcissistic attitudes in US students since 1979."

Why is there a rise in narcissism?
"In The Narcissism Epidemic, co-written with Keith Campbell, Twenge blames the growth of narcissistic attitudes on a range of trends - including parenting styles, celebrity culture, social media and access to easy credit, which allows people to appear more successful than they are."
Some belief in your abilities is a good thing, but...
"You need to believe that you can go out and do something but that's not the same as thinking that you're great," says Twenge. She gives the example of a swimmer attempting to learn a turn - this person needs to believe that they can acquire that skill, but a belief that they are already a great swimmer does not help."
This piece could have been lifted directly from Cain's book:
"Our culture used to encourage modesty and humility and not bragging about yourself," says Twenge. "It was considered a bad thing to be seen as conceited or full of yourself."


Bix said...

This reminds me of Claudia's exasperation with hearing the phase "I'm not surprised."

Claudia said...

I'm not surprised!! hahah But really I am surprised that there's an actual study that shows this. I thought it was just me. I mean, not that I'm a narcissist but that there are tons of young people incorrectly correcting everyone. What the h*ll happened to respect?!

Anonymous said...


"I now know that, yes, I am powerful," she said. "I'm more powerful than my mind can even digest and understand."

Bix said...

If she is so gifted, perhaps she understands her influence as a role model. Perhaps she takes care in selecting the traits she chooses to model. Humility, gratitude...

One thing she could spend some role-model capital on is the importance of staying in school. It's thought that the singer dropped out of high school at age 15 and as of April 2012 still hadn't earned her diploma.