Are you a narcissist, that is, someone who is self-absorbed, egotistical and vain?
There is an easy way to find out. Take this one-question test and rate yourself on a scale of one (not very true of me) to seven (very true of me):
"To what extent do you agree with this statement? I am a narcissist."
In a series of 11 experiments with more than 2,200 participants, researchers from The Ohio State University, Indiana University and Gettysburg College were able to reliably identify narcissists just by asking this one question.
Results showed that people's answer to this question lined up very closely with several other validated measures of narcissism, including the widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI).
The difference is that this new survey, which the researchers call the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS), has one question, while the NPI has 40 questions to answer.
"People who are willing to admit they are more narcissistic than others probably actually are more narcissistic," said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State. "People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact. You can ask them directly because they don't see narcissism as a negative quality--they believe they are superior to other people and are fine with saying that publicly."
Understanding narcissism has many implications for society that extend beyond the impact on the individual narcissist's life. "Narcissistic people have low empathy, and empathy is one key motivator of philanthropic behavior such as donating money or time to organizations," explained study co-author Sara Konrath of the Indiana University.
Even if narcissists think this personality trait is positive, it's not. "Overall, narcissism is problematic for both individuals and society. Those who think they are already great don't try to improve themselves," Bushman said. "And narcissism is bad for society because people who are only thinking of themselves and their own interests are less helpful to others."
Fun fact: The term "narcissism" originated in Greek mythology with Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
The study findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.
--From the Editors at Netscape