Consumer Psychology Wellbeing

Confirmed: Twitter Link to Narcissism

Interesting study just out in the journal of Computers in Human Behavior that again links active Twitter usage to narcissism;

Narcissism; self-admiration that is characterized by tendencies toward grandiose ideas, fantasized talents, exhibitionism, and defensiveness in response to criticism; and by interpersonal relations that are characterized by feelings of entitlement, exploitativeness, and lack of empathy

The study finds a correlation between active Twitter use and “subclinical” narcissism – displaying narcissistic traits, as opposed to full blown NPD – narcissistic personality disorder.  Test yourself below. Interestingly, the study found no correlation between Facebook use and narcissism – possibly due to how Twitter is more of a one-way communication tool compared to Facebook – with Twitter you talk but don’t have to listen back.

What does this mean for digital marketing?  Simple – your Twitter campaigns should appeal to people with tendencies toward grandiose ideas, fantasized talents, exhibitionism, and defensiveness in response to criticism.  Playing to Twitter users sense of entitlement ‘because your worth it’ is likely to appeal too…

Davenport, SW, Bergman, SM, Bergman, JZ, Fearrington, ME (2014) Twitter versus Facebook: Exploring the role of narcissism in the motives and usage of different social media platformsComputers in Human Behavior. 01/2014; 32:212–220.

Narcissistic Personality Test (Narcissistic Personality Inventory)

Instructions: Here you’ll find a list of 40 statement pairs – A and B. For each statement, choose the item from A or B that best matches you and note it down next to the number. Then use the key and assign one point for each response that matches the key.

  1. A. I have a natural talent for influencing people.  vs. B. I am not good at influencing people.
  2. A. Modesty doesn’t become me. vs. B. I am essentially a modest person.
  3. A. I would do almost anything on a dare. vs. B. I tend to be a fairly cautious person.
  4. A. When people compliment me I sometimes get embarrassed.  vs. B. I know that I am good because everybody keeps telling me so.
  5. A. The thought of ruling the world frightens the hell out of me.  vs. If I ruled the world it would be a better place.
  6. A. I can usually talk my way out of anything. vs. B. I try to accept the consequences of my behavior.
  7. A. I prefer to blend in with the crowd. vs. B. I like to be the center of attention.
  8. A. I will be a success. vs. B. I am not too concerned about success.
  9. A. I am no better or worse than most people. vs. B. I think I am a special person.
  10. A. I am not sure if I would make a good leader. vs. B. I see myself as a good leader.
  11. A. I am assertive.  vs. B. I wish I were more assertive.
  12. A. I like to have authority over other people. vs. B. I don’t mind following orders.
  13. A. I find it easy to manipulate people. vs. B. I don’t like it when I find myself manipulating people.
  14. A. I insist upon getting the respect that is due me.  vs. B. I usually get the respect that I deserve.
  15. A. I don’t particularly like to show off my body. vs. B. I like to show off my body.
  16. A. I can read people like a book. vs. B. People are sometimes hard to understand.
  17. A. If I feel competent I am willing to take responsibility for making decisions. vs. B. I like to take responsibility for making decisions.
  18. A. I just want to be reasonably happy. vs. B. I want to amount to something in the eyes of the world.
  19. A. My body is nothing special. vs. B. I like to look at my body.
  20. A. I try not to be a show off.  vs. B. I will usually show off if I get the chance.
  21. A. I always know what I am doing. vs. B. Sometimes I am not sure of what I am doing.
  22. A. I sometimes depend on people to get things done. vs. B. I rarely depend on anyone else to get things done.
  23. A. Sometimes I tell good stories. vs. B. Everybody likes to hear my stories.
  24. A. I expect a great deal from other people. vs. B. I like to do things for other people.
  25. A. I will never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve. vs. B. I take my satisfactions as they come.
  26. A. Compliments embarrass me. vs. B. I like to be complimented.
  27. A. I have a strong will to power. vs. B. Power for its own sake doesn’t interest me.
  28. A. I don’t care about new fads and fashions. vs. B. I like to start new fads and fashions.
  29. A. I like to look at myself in the mirror. vs. B. I am not particularly interested in looking at myself in the mirror.
  30. A. I really like to be the center of attention. vs. B. It makes me uncomfortable to be the center of attention.
  31. A. I can live my life in any way I want to. vs. B. People can’t always live their lives in terms of what they want.
  32. A. Being an authority doesn’t mean that much to me. vs. B. People always seem to recognize my authority.
  33. A. I would prefer to be a leader. vs. B. It makes little difference to me whether I am a leader or not.
  34. A. I am going to be a great person. vs. B. I hope I am going to be successful.
  35. A. People sometimes believe what I tell them. vs. B. I can make anybody believe anything I want them to.
  36. A. I am a born leader. vs. B. Leadership is a quality that takes a long time to develop.
  37. A. I wish somebody would someday write my biography. vs. B. I don’t like people to pry into my life for any reason.
  38. A. I get upset when people don’t notice how I look when I go out in public. vs. B. I don’t mind blending into the crowd when I go out in public.
  39. A. I am more capable than other people. vs. B. There is a lot that I can learn from other people.
  40. A. I am much like everybody else. vs. I am an extraordinary person.


Assign one point for each response that matches the key. The average score is 15; the higher the score above 15 – the more narcissistic you are

  1. A
  2. A
  3. A
  4. B
  5. B
  6. A
  7. B
  8. A
  9. B
  10. B
  11. A
  12. A
  13. A
  14. A
  15. B
  16. A
  17. B
  18. B
  19. B
  20. B
  21. A
  22. B
  23. B
  24. A
  25. A
  26. B
  27. A
  28. B
  29. A
  30. A
  31. A
  32. B
  33. A
  34. A
  35. B
  36. A
  37. A
  38. A
  39. A
  40. B

If you want to dig deeper you can look at which dimensions of narcissism you score most highly on

  • Authority: 1, 8, 10, 11, 12, 32, 33, 36
  • Self-sufficiency: 17, 21, 22, 31, 34, 39
  • Superiority: 4, 9, 26, 37, 40
  • Exhibitionism: 2, 3, 7, 20, 28, 30, 38
  • Exploitativeness: 6, 13, 16, 23, 35
  • Vanity: 15, 19, 29
  • Entitlement: 5, 14, 18, 24, 25, 27

Raskin, R. & Terry, H. (1988). A Principal-Components Analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and Further Evidence of Its Construct Validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(5).

Davenport, SW, Bergman, SM, Bergman, JZ, Fearrington, ME (2014) Twitter versus Facebook: Exploring the role of narcissism in the motives and usage of different social media platforms; Computers in Human Behavior. 01/2014; 32:212–220.


  • Tweeting is the preferred method of active SNS usage for college age narcissists.
  • No relationship between active Facebook usage and narcissism in college sample.
  • Platform differences explain the differences in active usage on Facebook versus Twitter.
  • Narcissistic motives mediate the relationship between narcissism and active usage.

The amount of research on social networking sites (SNS) and narcissism is accumulating quickly requiring greater levels of variable specification and more fine-tuned hypothesis testing to clearly determine the relationships among key variables. The current investigation examines two of the most popular SNS, Facebook and Twitter, formulating hypotheses around the specific features of each site within college and adult samples. Unlike previous research that has focused almost exclusively on SNS usage, we focused on active usage (i.e., SNS content generation) as opposed to passive usage (i.e., SNS consumption) and included reasons for usage as a potential black box in the narcissism to SNS usage relationship. Results suggest that the features of Twitter make tweeting the preferred means of active usage among narcissists in the college sample, but not the adult sample, who prefer Facebook. In fact, we found no significant direct or indirect relationship with active usage on Facebook for the college sample, calling into question popular press articles linking Millennial narcissism with Facebook use. Additionally platform differences (i.e., microblogging versus profile-based) may explain the importance of active usage on Twitter relative to Facebook. That is, with Twitter, narcissistic motives for usage all manifest through tweeting while Facebook provides other mechanisms to achieve narcissistic motives.


Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

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