One Thing Everyone Gets Wrong About Narcissists

Narcissists are thought to be the people who gaze into their own eyes, feel entitled, and of course say "I," "me," and "mine" way more than necessary. But, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, narcissists actually don’t use personal pronouns more than the rest of us do. Saying "I" has long been considered a marker of self-absorption — thanks to a 1988 study that yielded a positive correlation between narcissism and so-called "I-talk." But, that study's sample was small (only 48 subjects). The new, larger study (4,811 subjects) took a closer look: Each subject participated in different experiments, from answering questionnaires or recalling a story to essay-writing or submitting Facebook statues. Then, each subject also took either the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) or the newer Dirty Dozen survey, both of which measure narcissism. In the end, the researchers found no relationship between the use of personal pronouns and levels of narcissism. Though the male subjects did have a moderately higher association between narcissism and personal pronouns than the females did, it wasn’t enough to have any significance. So, it may be harder than we thought to ID a narcissist from a conversation. We may be walking among more of them than we realize.

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