A new study has established that excessive use of social media, in particular the posting of images and selfies, is associated with a subsequent increase in narcissism.
Researchers from Swansea University and Milan University studied personality changes of 74 individuals aged 18 to 34 over a four-months where they assessed if the participants’ usage of social media(Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat) are linked with narcissism during this period. Narcissism being a personality characteristic that can involve grandiose exhibitionism, beliefs relating to entitlement, and exploiting others.
These are there findings:
- Those who used social media excessively, through visual postings, displayed an average 25% increase in such narcissistic traits over the four months of the study.
- This increase took many of these participants above the clinical cut-off for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to the measurement scale used.
- The study also found that those who primarily used social media for verbal postings, such as Twitter, did not show these effects.
- This group of people initial levels of narcissism was low as when with the later owning to their over-indulgence on visual aspect of social media.
- Those who make use of visual aspect of social media are more narcissistic than those who did the verbal postings.
- All but one of the people in the study used social media, and their average use was about three hours a day, excluding usage for work, but some reported using social media for as much as eight hours a day for non-work related purposes.
- Facebook was used by 60% of the sample, 25% used Instagram, and 13% used Twitter and Snapchat each. Over two thirds of the participants primarily used social media for posting images.
- From the sample of the population, it was envisaged that about 20% of people may be at risk of developing such narcissistic traits associated with their excessive visual social media use.
- Predominant usage of social media for the participants was visual, mainly through Facebook, suggests the growth of this personality problem could be seen increasingly more often, unless its dangerscan be recognize in this form of communication.
Professor Roberto Truzoli from Milan University added:
- “The use of visual social media may emphasise the perception of narcissistic individuals that they are the main focus of attention.
- “The lack of immediate ‘direct’ social censure, may offer them the opportunity to inflict aspects of their narcissistic personality, present themselves in a grandiose manner, and realize fantasies of omnipotence.”
Phil Reed, Nazli I. Bircek, Lisa A. Osborne, Caterina Viganò, Roberto Truzoli. Visual Social Media Use Moderates the Relationship between Initial Problematic Internet Use and Later Narcissism. The Open Psychology Journal, 2018; 11 (1): 163 DOI: 10.2174/1874350101811010163