New research shows it only takes one question to identify narcissism

All it takes to identify a narcissist is a simple question.

According to Ohio State researchers, there is a new way to test and identify narcissism. Surprisingly, this test consists of a single question. For this reason, this method of testing is called the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS).

The researchers conducted a series of 11 experiments on over 2,200 people of all ages. They found that they could accurately identify whether a person was a narcissist based on their response to the following question and the note which accompanies it:

To what extent do you agree with this statement: “I am a narcissist.”
(Note: The word “narcissist” means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)

Participants had to respond to the question by rating themselves on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 and 7 represent ‘not very true of me’ and ‘very true of me’ respectively.

The study concluded that results from the SINS aligned closely with other measures for narcissism.

The advantage of this method of testing is the time it takes to be completed; that is, it takes only 20 seconds to answer the SINS whereas it can take over 10 minutes to complete the widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI). In other words, a narcissist can be identified much quicker through the SINS’ 1 question instead of the NPI’s 40!

Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, commented on the results of the study as he said:

People who are willing to admit they are more narcissistic than others probably actually are more narcissistic […] People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact. You can ask them directly because they don’t see narcissism as a negative quality — they believe they are superior to other people and are fine with saying that publicly.”

Despite the success of the SINS, Bushman noted that it should not replace the existing methods used to measure narcissism. The reason for this is that the one question tool does not provide enough information. While the test does work to identify narcissism, it does not help identify the type of narcissism. Other methods of testing – such as the NIP – give researchers more data, allowing them to identify these types.

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