Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Am I a cocky son of a bitch?

I've just set up a Facebook profile. After the umpteenth invitation to visit someone else's profile that I couldn't accept because I didn't have my own profile, I caved. Now I'm wondering if I'm a narcissist. Psychologists gave a personality inventory to Facebook users, then evaluated their Facebook profiles.

The researchers found that the number of Facebook friends and wallposts that individuals have on their profile pages correlates with narcissism...(and that)...Narcissists are also more likely to choose glamorous, self-promoting pictures for their main profile photos...while others are more likely to use snapshots.

So I'm assuming that narcissism was measured by their personality inventory. Then what the hell is going on with the following?

Untrained observers were able to detect narcissism, too. The researchers found that the observers used three characteristics – quantity of social interaction, attractiveness of the individual and the degree of self promotion in the main photo – to form an impression of the individual’s personality.

For that to be the case (if I'm understanding correctly), I think "attractiveness of the individual" must, by any statistical procedure, be correlated with the researchers' measure of narcissism. And if that's the case, I wonder if it is a flawed measure of narcissism. And (one last time) if that's the case, does any of their data matter?

Right now it’s too early to predict if or how the norms of online self-promotion will change...since the study of social networking sites is still in its infancy.

Boy oh boy - the study of social networking...glad to see we psychologists are helping to make the world a better place. Anyway, I've only got 8 friends...but is my picture self-promoting? Is it glamorous? What if I now go to my Facebook profile and where it says "What are you doing right now" I type: "Wondering if I am a narcissist"? Is a vicious narcissist cycle?

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