FEB 27, 2016 9:10 AM PST

How to Spot a Pathological Narcissist

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In the digital age of selfies, YouTube, and Instagram, getting attention is as easy as clicking a button. But with social media being mainstream, where do we draw the line between being trendy and bordering on narcissism?

Narcissism may be a common descriptor, but it's also a well-characterized set of traits that fall under a real psychological disorder. Narcissists are clinically described as people who possess extremely high levels of self-esteem, grandiosity, self-focus, and self-importance. They are likely to feel more beautiful, smarter, and popular than everyone around them. While some these traits can be positive motivators for improving oneself, narcissism at the extreme end of the spectrum can be quite toxic and self-limiting.

Researchers have noticed an increasing number of people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder since the 1970s. The numbers could rise even higher with the help of social media platforms. While participating in social media has not been shown to cause narcissism, these platforms certainly make it easier to engage in self-promotion. Watch the video to learn about how social media influences self-perception and how we can avoid the fate of the Greek god, Narcissus.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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