Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Article Is About You

"Echo and Narcissus" by J.W. Waterhouse. Archive image.

POOR Echo … If only she'd asked Narcissus a simple question before she went traipsing after him in the woods.

Indeed, had the lovestruck nymph inquired whether he of great pulchritude was egotistical, self-focused and vain, he may have answered in the affirmative, sending her scurrying along her merry way, preventing the tragedy that would befall the both of them.

Echo became but an echo of her former self, of course, and is remembered to this day. Later, in an unrelated incident, Narcissus would commit suicide. Literature and popular culture, particularly film, are chockful of narcissists.

Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" (see video below) represents the most referenced occurrence in music. Look no further than reality TV to see manifestations of narcissism played out in real time.

Echo is no more, but in time to save countless others a lot of botheration, a team of scientists has hit upon a methodology that can identify narcissists.

If you have suspicions just ask a single question along the lines of, “Are you a narcissist,” with Echo's meaning in mind.

Based on nearly a dozen experiments of more than 2,000 people of various ages, it was revealed that narcissists are quite open about their condition. The findings of the study, titled Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS), are published in the journal, “PLOS ONE”

“People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact,” says study co-author Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

“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.”

BB and colleagues discovered that in using the new SINS (Single Item Narcissism Scale) method, that is a single-question survey, the results were closely aligned with those of reliable, multi-question surveys such as the widely recognized, 40-question Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI).

Narcissist Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) has the tables turned on him by his wife, Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman), in “Gaslight.” Archive photo.

Bearing that in mind, how narcissistic are you? Come now, we all harbor a little narcissism just as we do envy. Take the test, http://www.bit.ly/X1xjpC.

Visit http://www.bit.ly/1qWAeIw to read an abstract of “Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS)” or to read the article it in its entirety.

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