Selfie and the rise of the narcissist, or, is it narcissists bring rise to the selfie?

Hello everyone

I was just reading this article – click me , and noting that there is a rise in the number of people with this personality disorder.

I am sure most people reading this blog is noticing the teens of this age are self absorbed people glued to their phones, (there are still teens who are not like this 😉 ).  Narcissism is actually defined by this:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder involves arrogant behavior, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration-all of which must be consistently evident at work and in relationships. People who are narcissistic are frequently described as cocky, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. Narcissists may concentrate on unlikely personal outcomes (e.g., fame) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment. Related Personality Disorders: Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic. Narcissism is a less extreme version of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissism involves cockiness, manipulativeness, selfishness, power motives, and vanity-a love of mirrors. Related personality traits include: Psychopathy, Machiavellianism.

Ref. no (1)

We can see that narcissism is a bit more than what the first article was saying.  With the rise of shows like X  Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice here in the UK.  You have to wonder about society feeding the younger generation about this behaviour.  Another thing, which may or may not be linked to this phenomena is the sexualisation of pre – puberty girls.  And I do not mean those mums who have them going to mini beauty contests a la in the states.  A paper by the Australian Psychological Society in 2013 (2) .  The paper had a look at how the media represents the under age children and gives guidelines to how the media should behave.

We have seen all the images of wafer thin models (with or without photoshop), and know about the presence of anorexia – nervosa friendly sites on the internet to encourage young girls to lose unrealistic weights.  In a psychological viewpoint, girls are diagnosed with anorexia with the following symptoms:

  • Severely restricted food intake.
  • Weight lost which makes the anorexic person 85% lower than their expected medical weight.
  • Distortion of body image.
  • Fear of becoming fat.
  • Seriousness of the unhealthy weight loss is ignored.
  • Amenorrhoea or periods stop, a lapse of a miss of 3 or more menses phases.

This occurs mainly in adolescent girls who are between the ages of 15 – 17 mainly, although males can suffer from anorexia.


Although anorexia and selfies seem a world apart, they are not really.  Both seem to have a VERY strong element of conformity added to them.  There are 3 different types of conformity:

  1. Compliance – Publicly conform, but keep own views.
  2. Identification – Conform to group, whilst you are in the group.
  3. Internalisation – Complete conversation of private ideas to match your peers.

So, these peer groups are online, the media and schoolmates etc.  And the selfie song which is at the start of the blog post, is such case of the media.   There are two big mechanisms of conformity, one called Informational Social Influence (ISI) and is about knowing you are right.  The other type of confirmity is Normative Social Influence (NSI).  The type of conformity we are going to discuss is NSI.

NSI and  Bandura

NSI is the main one involved for us, and characterised by the following:

  • Conform in order to be accepted and liked by the group.
  • Following the crowd.
  •  Change behaviour, not point of view in peer group.

This can also bring thoughts of the Bandura Bobo Doll experiment in a961.  (3)   This was when there was different groups of young children watching a video of adults hitting a bobo doll with a hammer.  As a result, children were imitating their adult peers hitting the bobo doll.

This theory shows us that people often observe and imitate their peers.  So when you see a group of “lads” acting the fool, it maybe that they are all showing some imitation learning.

In part 2, Narcissism will be looked at in more detail to finish off this blog on selfies and narcissism.

Feel free to like this comment on facebook, share and comment on this blog.


1.  (last accessed 17 /04 /14 @ 16:35 BST).

2.  1. Cupit G, Ungerer J, Scuderi C, Sutton J, Bastian B, Nielsen M, et al. Media Representations and Responsibilities : Psychological Perspectives. 2013;(March).

3. (accessed 18/04/14 @ 0043 BST)


One thought on “Selfie and the rise of the narcissist, or, is it narcissists bring rise to the selfie?

  1. Pingback: Narcissism and Selfies (part 2) | It's All In The Head

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