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Are you a narcissist? Read on

Posted on Aug 06 2014 | IANS

New York, Aug 6 : To find out if your colleague or friend is a narcissist, you do not require a detailed test or expert's help but to ask a simple question: Are you a narcissist?

People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact.

"You can ask them directly because they do not see narcissism as a negative quality - they believe they are superior to other people and are fine with saying that publicly," said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

In a series of 11 experiments involving more than 2,200 people of all ages, the researchers found they could reliably identify narcissistic people by asking them this exact question with a note:

"To what extent do you agree with this statement: 'I am a narcissist'. (Note: The word "narcissist" means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)"

Participants rated themselves on a scale of 1 (not very true of me) to 7 (very true of me).

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) that has 40 questions to answer.

"People who are willing to admit they are more narcissistic than others probably actually are more narcissistic," Bushman added.

Understanding narcissism has many implications for society that extend beyond the impact on the individual narcissist's life.

"For example, narcissistic people have low empathy, and empathy is one key motivator of philanthropic behaviour such as donating money or time to organisations," said co-autor Sara Konrath from Indiana University.

Overall, narcissism is problematic for both individuals and society. Those who think they are already great do not try to improve themselves, Bushman noted.

The results appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

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