A surprisingly large number of studies have been completed by a wide range of interested parties ranging from psychologists to universities regarding the relation of facebook users and narcissism/low self-esteem. The results are actually quite surprising, to say the least.
So, how exactly did this idea come about? Well, it began with the suggestion that people who display narcissistic personality traits may show a higher level of selfishness and overall activity on the leading social network as compared to other users.
A first study completed by Laura Buffard, a psychology doctoral student and W. Keith Campbel who is a professor from the University of Georgia tested 130 facebook users by having untrained strangers review and rate the page owners level of narcissism.
Another particularly in-depth study completed by York University psychologist Soraya Mehdizadeh used 100 subjects, whose personalities were graded using two special tests to detect low self-esteem and narcissism. When the tests were complete, she investigated each subject’s facebook profile, use habits and recent facebook activity for evidence of a link between facebook and narcissism.
And sure enough, the assumptions were relatively correct. Here are some of the findings of the two studies.
- People with test results showing narcissistic personalities spent more time on facebook, checked it more often and spent more time self-promoting themselves with updated profile pictures, status updates and personal information.
- The amount of friends and the number of wallposts that the individuals have on their facebook pages correlates closely with narcissism.
- While male narcissists spent more time promoting themselves in their information sections, female narcissists were more apt to promote themselves with flashy and revealing images of their physical appearance.
- Those who scored lower on the self-esteem test exhibited far more frequent activity that related to themselves on facebook such as updating their status numerous times a day as well as numerous posts about the “cool” things they are doing or their personal possessions they have such as “going shopping then off to dinner and the movies” or “I’m so glad i have the new iPhone”.
Inconclusive to any of the related studies that have been done is that using facebook for an extending amount of time each day is an indicator of narcissism or low self-esteem. Many people are simply heavy facebook users for whatever reasons, however it’s interesting to see the connection between facebook activities and ones psychological profile. As an online community of sorts, people with low self-esteem have a chance to appear more appealing and interesting than they otherwise are – which is not always a bad thing. Although for the narcissist it may be nothing more than the inflation of their already obese ego, it may offer a boost to those who otherwise lack some much needed self-confidence.