Navigation Links
Narcissism may benefit the young, researchers report; but older adults? Not so much

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. We all know one, or think we do: the person whose self-regard seems out of proportion to his or her actual merits. Popular culture labels these folks "narcissists," almost always a derogatory term. But a new study suggests that some forms of narcissism are at least in the short term beneficial, helping children navigate the difficult transition to adulthood.

The study appears in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

"Most people think of narcissism as a trait that doesn't change much across the lifespan," said postdoctoral researcher Patrick Hill, who conducted the study with University of Illinois psychology professor Brent Roberts. "But a lot of recent studies have shown that the developmental trajectory of narcissism goes upward in adolescence and what we call emerging adulthood the late teens and early 20s, and then typically declines."

This reduction in narcissistic traits coincides with a decline in their usefulness, the researchers found.

Hill and Roberts surveyed 368 undergraduate college students and 439 of their family members to get a picture of the narcissistic traits of the students and of their mothers. (There were enough mothers but not other relatives in the study to provide a robust sample size for analysis.)

"We looked at three different forms of narcissism," Hill said. The first, an inflated sense of leadership or authority, is the belief "that you know a lot and people should come to you for advice," he said. The second is "grandiose exhibitionism," being pompous, wanting to show off, and having an exaggerated sense of one's capabilities and talents. The third is a sense of entitlement and a willingness to exploit others for personal gain.

In the study, young people who were high in the leadership and grandiose exhibitionism forms of narcissism were likely to report higher life satisfaction and well-being, while mothers who had the same traits were not.

A sense of entitlement or willingness to exploit others for personal gain predicted lower life satisfaction at every age, however.

In general, participants had a lower opinion of those with narcissistic traits. Narcissistic mothers, in particular, tended to be viewed as neurotic and low in conscientiousness, the researchers found. Students who were narcissistic were not generally judged to be neurotic, but they and their narcissistic mothers were more likely to be viewed as low in "agreeableness."

These negative judgments, particularly of older adults, "could have quite interesting negative ramifications for people's circumstances in middle and old age if they retain this rather grandiose sense of self," Roberts said.

"This study continues a line of research that shows that there is a fundamental developmental shift in both the amounts of narcissism that people have and also in the meaning of it as people age," Roberts said. An exaggerated belief in one's own capabilities and prospects may help young people "navigate adolescence and the turmoil involved in trying to find a sense of identity," he said. Later in life, however, those same traits "appear to be related to less life satisfaction and a poorer reputation."


Contact: Diana Yates
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Related biology news :

1. Mannan oligosaccharides offer health benefits to pigs
2. New study outlines economic and environmental benefits to reducing nitrogen pollution
3. Northwest Forest Plan has unintended benefit - carbon sequestration
4. New evidence of the benefits of home dialysis for kidney patients
5. Virtual natural environments and benefits to health
6. Studies show siginificant benefits of yoga in 2 conditions
7. Temperature, humidity affect health benefits of green tea powders
8. Oregon Farm to School bill would benefit health through job creation, study finds
9. Liquid smoke from rice shows potential health benefits
10. Scotlands first marine reserve already producing benefits
11. New review suggests drinking 100 percent fruit juice may offer disease-fighting benefits
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Narcissism may benefit the young, researchers report; but older adults? Not so much
(Date:11/17/2015)... , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces ... joined its Board of Directors. --> ... after recently retiring from the partnership at TPG Capital, ... companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  He founded ... across all the TPG companies, from 1997 to 2013.  ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... --  Growing need for low-cost, easy to use, ... the way for use of biochemical sensors for ... clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense applications. Presently, ... applications, however, their adoption is increasing in agricultural, ... on improving product quality and growing need to ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into ... of vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer ... drivers, and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive ... the vehicle. Europe , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global ... competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve ... each state are competing for votes to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today that ... Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ... will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced that its ... at 11:00 a.m. Israel time, at the law ... Allon Street, 36 th Floor, Tel Aviv, Israel ... and Izhak Tamir to the Board of Directors; ... directors; , approval of an amendment to certain terms of options ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, a company ... Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive officer, will ... on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 p.m. Eastern ... City. --> --> ... Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign up to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: