Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Narcissistic Students on the Rise?
I'm not sure I believe there's much to this study - looking for ways to demonize the next generation as being overly selfish sounds like one of the more predictable trends in the history of the world. I'm also not sure that self-reporting is the most reliable way to measure feelings of self-worth. If anything, kids have been taught to say that they are special. Not sure that means they believe it. But still, it's interesting. Here's the AP report:
The standardized inventory, known as the NPI, asks for responses to such statements as "If I ruled the world, it would be a better place," "I think I am a special person" and "I can live my life any way I want to."

The researchers describe their study as the largest ever of its type and say students' NPI scores have risen steadily since the current test was introduced in 1982. By 2006, they said, two-thirds of the students had above-average scores, 30 percent more than in 1982.
The researchers traced the phenomenon back to what they called the "self-esteem movement" that emerged in the 1980s, asserting that the effort to build self-confidence had gone too far.

As an example, Twenge cited a song commonly sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques" in preschool: "I am special, I am special. Look at me."

"Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism," Twenge said. "By its very name, MySpace encourages attention-seeking, as does YouTube."

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