60-Second Science

Narcissists Self-Involved Enough to Recognize Their Narcissism

The simple question “To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist” is about as good at identifying narcissists as a 40-question clinical assessment. Erika Beras reports

Here’s an easy way to find out if someone is a narcissist. Just ask them. That’s according to a study in the journal PLoS One. [Sara Konrath et al: Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS)]

Researchers posed the following question to more than two thousand people: “To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist.” 

The researchers also provided participants with a definition of narcissist: egotistical, self-focused and vain. Not traits most people would want to be associated with—unless of course you’re a narcissist. 

A small percentage of the study subjects said they were. Most said they were not. 

Then, researchers had the volunteers fill out a lengthy narcissism clinical assessment. Those who had rated themselves high on the narcissism scale also scored high on the assessment. 

After eleven rounds of tests, the researchers concluded that when the full 40-question clinical questionnaire could not be done, the Single Item Narcissism Scale, or SINS, “To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist,” was a valuable tool.  

Seems that there isn’t much mystery when narcissists themselves are asked to self-identify. Yes, they may be narcissists—but they aren’t clueless. 

—Erika Beras

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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