Narcissistic individuals use social media to promote themselves. But how do they feel about fellow narcissists who do the same?
A new study published in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behavior used Instagram to examine whether narcissists are more tolerant of the narcissistic behavior of others.
“Posting selfies is a popular activity that exemplifies narcissistic self-promotion on Instagram,” explained study author Seunga Venus Jin of Sejong University. “Narcissism is a positive indicator of willingness to take selfies and frequency of posting selfies. Why do people not only post selfies but also ‘like’ and ‘follow’ others who post selfies?”
The two-part study of 276 adults recruited from Amazon’s MTurk found that Instagram users who post selfies and groupies were perceived as more narcissistic.
But narcissistic participants showed a more favorable attitude toward selfies posted by other people. They also showed a greater intention to follow fellow narcissists on Instagram and a higher intention to post their own selfies.
“Selfies and groupies are interpreted as more negatively narcissistic than photos taken by others and neutral photos,” Venus told PsyPost. “However, narcissistic personality similarity between the selfie poster and viewer mediates this effect. Furthermore, post source’s popularity and viewers’ need for popularity interact to moderate the causal effect of post types on perceived narcissism.”
“This study only focused on ‘grandiose narcissism’ while not examining ‘vulnerable narcissism’,” Venus said.
Vulnerable narcissism is associated with insecurity and social withdrawal, while grandiose narcissism is linked to extraversion and an excessive admiration of one’s own physical attractiveness.
“In addition, replicating grandiose/vulnerable narcissism experiments with a variety of social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and Snapchat will increase generalizability,” Venus added.
“This study discovered the effects of narcissism and popularity on a wide range of psychological and behavioral outcomes. This study offers the basis for future explanations of selfies and narcissism, by adding empirical evidence to the narcissism tolerance hypothesis.”