For Many, Narcissism Tied to Social Media Behaviors

A new comprehensive research review suggests that for some people, social media use correlates with narcissism.

University of Georgia psychology researchers performed a statistical review of 62 studies involving over 13,000 individuals. They discovered narcissism has a modest but reliable positive relationship with a range of social media behaviors.

The largest influences included the number of friends/followers narcissists had, the frequency of status updates and then selfie posting.

The two strains of narcissistic behavior — grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism — showed different relationships to social media use.

Grandiose narcissism, the more extroverted, callous form, was positively related to time spent on social media, the frequency of updates, number of friends/followers, and the frequency of posting selfies.

Vulnerable narcissism, the more insecure form, did not show any relationship to social media, but there was relatively little research on this form of narcissism.

“The stories you have heard about grandiose narcissism on social media are probably true,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Keith Campbell, a professor of psychology in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Campbell, co-author of “The Narcissism Epidemic,” notes that “when you engage with social media, you will be engaging with more narcissism than might really exist in the world. This might distort your view of the world as being more narcissistic than it is.”

“It is important to remember that these are only correlations, however,” said the study’s lead author, Jessica McCain, a graduate student in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program.

”Theoretically, we suspect that individuals with pre-existing narcissism are drawn to social media, but the present evidence only establishes that the two are related.”

“Networks on social media aren’t designed by people in Silicon Valley,” Campbell said. “They are built one link at a time by users. And narcissists seem to be central to this build-out.”

The study appears in the early online edition of Psychology of Popular Media Culture.

Source: University of Georgia