Facebook profiles decoded; we're onto your glamour shots, narcissists.
University of Georgia researchers used personality questionnaires to determine 130 Facebook users' levels of narcissism, then showed the profiles to strangers. Based on a user's number of friends, level of attractiveness and degree of self-promotion in the main photo, the strangers were able to pinpoint the narcissists with a high degree of accuracy.
Besides seeming awfully harsh to the beautiful, popular, and ever-photogenic non-narcissists out there—a group that stereotypes so often and cruelly beat down—the findings are slightly hard to believe. So, my Facebook profile picture isn't the worst one I've ever taken. Am I drowning in self-love? And where's the line between narcissism and self-confidence?
According to the Georgia study results, "glamorous, self-promoting" photos tended to betray narcissism more than candid snapshots. But what of those seemingly self-deprecating narcissists who post ironic, even unflattering profile pictures to promote a certain version of themselves, albeit maybe not a pretty, shiny one?
The lead researchers said to look out for those who go for quantity rather than quality in their relationships. They also pressed the importance of studying those who follow Narcissus' watery path because self-absorbed folks "hurt the people around them and they hurt themselves." Other researchers have warned of a "narcissism epidemic" facilitated by the likes of Facebook and MySpace and have fingered this trend for making people increasingly lousy partners.
Two things to take away from this study: besides a person's proclivity for having one night stands, you can probably trust your gut about a person's humility based on a first meeting. Secondly, eh, I forget now. I'm too busy admiring my own beautiful prose and getting ready to post it to my Facebook page.