• April 19, 2014

Narcissism Run Rampant? Let's Not Flatter Ourselves

Narcissism Run Rampant? Let's Not Flatter Ourselves. 1

Geoffrey Moss for The Chronicle Review

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close Narcissism Run Rampant? Let's Not Flatter Ourselves. 1

Geoffrey Moss for The Chronicle Review

The last few decades have seen increasing efforts by teachers, policy makers, therapists, and others to shield children from anything remotely negative, whether that be competition with each other or criticism from adults. Competitive T-ball games, dodge ball, well-deserved falling grades—all of these have been flattened under the crushing wheels of the so-called self-esteem movement. It should come as little surprise that many folks (myself included) find all of this to be quite ridiculous and worry that the self-esteem movement may ultimately do more harm than good. Life, after all, is filled with hard knocks and disappointments, so if we don't allow our children to learn how to navigate the inevitable negativities and inequities of life early on, how will they function as adults?

There is also the tyranny of the least common denominator. If one child does not enjoy playing tag or dodge ball, then no one can play. (I wish we could employ that logic to ban country music.) One could raise numerous reasonable objections to the self-esteem movement and its foibles, yet combating one extreme position with moderation never leads to much. One must fight fire with fire.

There has been much recent discussion in the psychological literature and the popular press about the idea that self-esteem among young people has become so problematic that an "epidemic" (not my word) of narcissism has gripped the younger generation. Allegedly, high levels of narcissism place young people at risk not only for manipulativeness and selfishness but also for all manner of ill outcomes, including increased propensities for violence, depression, anxiety, and poor academic performance.

One of the leading proponents of this view is the psychologist Jean M. Twenge, who has two well-selling books out on the topic including Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled-and More Miserable Than Ever Before and The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, both published by Free Press.

Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, is no pop psychologist. Her research has been published in a number of well-respected peer-reviewed journals in psychology. I believe she is motivated by a sincere desire to be of help to children and society. Nonetheless, the tone of her book titles is difficult to miss. Labeling the youth of today "Generation Me" is clearly pejorative, and can we all agree that, at this point, the word "epidemic" has been used so carelessly so many times that it has lost all meaning?

The work of Twenge and others involves tracking scores on measures of narcissism such as the Narcissistic Personality Inventory over time. Purported increases in this measure over several generations of young people would suggest that narcissism is on the rise. But do such increases really indicate that our young people are awash in waywardness, a new horde of ne'er-do-wells to be unleashed on our nation? Well, no. There are two basic problems with these measures: Psychologists are not sure that the data really indicate that narcissism is on the rise, and it's not clear that it's such a bad thing if it is.

First, psychologists have debated whether or not the evidence points to an increase in narcissism over time. Kali H. Trzesniewski, M. Brent Donnellan, and Richard W. Robins have examined data sets similar to those used by Twenge and her colleagues and have come to the opposite conclusion­—that little evidence exists for a rise in narcissism over time. Dueling data sets are nothing new in psychology, of course, nor is the progressive vitriol into which debate on this issue has descended. However, it is clearly too soon to be talking about epidemics and slandering millions of young people with a derogatory label. There is simply not the quality of evidence available to support such hyperbole.

Second, the concept of narcissism itself as discussed in the literature is poorly defined. As Twenge and her colleagues themselves acknowledge, the NPI and similar instruments do not measure pathological narcissism. Put more bluntly, no one really knows if high scores on the common measures of narcissistic personality are such a bad thing. Where does healthy self-esteem end and pathological narcissism, something that leads to selfishness, manipulativeness, and violence, begin? That ought to be an instrumental point to understand before claims of mass harm are passed on to the general public. Psychometric flaws with the NPI, in particular, limit the degree to which scores on this measure can be interpreted. Interestingly, a new measure, the Pathological Narcissism Inventory, has recently been developed by Aaron L. Pincus at Pennsylvania State University's main campus. It would be nice to see how scores on this, arguably better, track over time. Unfortunately that will take decades. At present we simply don't know if there has been an increase or not, and if there has been an increase, in what exactly? Happiness or selfishness?

Twenge and her colleagues are not the first to lambaste the self-esteem movement. Others have been identifying it as the source of all that ails us for years. I'm no fan of it myself. All the efforts to ban competitive sports, encourage group hugs, and say nary a negative word to a child do seem to run the risk of turning today's youth into some socialized version of the Children of the Corn. I'm the first to acknowledge a certain absurdity at the core of the self-esteem movement and the implication that competition is harmful and children so delicate that any failure will be horribly crushing rather than an opportunity for learning and growth. However, the notion that children are so malleable that the self-esteem movement, or anything else, could twist them into an antisocial horde is equally absurd.

There's nothing wrong with examining narcissism rates over time. It's an interesting question. Yet once we start throwing sneering labels around and started talking about "epidemics" and "crises," we have left the realm of science and entered that of polemics and pseudoscience. The narcissism debate is, I'd argue, no extreme case in the social sciences either. The rush to slap young people with the tag "Generation Me" is simply one more spin of the "kids today" wheel, as in "kids today, with their music and their hair. ... "

The social sciences have too often jumped in feet first, raising unnecessary panics over video games, "fad" mental illnesses, and "crises" of sexual assault. I'll acknowledge that it's probably difficult to sell a book or get a government grant arguing that something isn't a big problem, yet it is time for the social sciences to carefully consider the chasm that too often exists between the data that they produce and the claims they make to the scientific community and general public. Words such as "epidemic" should only ever be preceded by words like "smallpox," and should henceforth be stricken from the social scientist's lingo.

Were a narcissism epidemic truly striking the United States, we ought to be seeing signs of it, but we're not. Violence among young people is at the lowest levels since the late 1960s. Rates of teen pregnancy, substance abuse, smoking, and dropping out of high school are all down as well. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more high-school students are taking difficult courses like calculus and advanced science. According to national statistics, achievement in reading and math among schoolchildren has either remained stable or improved in recent years (and that is on standardized exams, so grade inflation is not the issue). And, as far as selfishness goes, evidence suggests that young people are engaged in community service and other civic activities more than before.

The evidence just isn't there for an epidemic of narcissism or anything else. Social scientists would do well to exercise a degree of caution when interpreting data. Just like with the little boy who cries wolf, people are bound to notice too many phantom epidemics. The price to be paid is the credibility of social science itself.

Christopher J. Ferguson is an associate professor of psychology in the department of behavioral and applied sciences and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University.


1. groland - August 02, 2010 at 09:31 am

When I look back on my own development, I realize that much of what drove me to succeed was a Father who was never satisfied. While this created its own issues, it did provide a whole lot of motivation. I do believe that children's true self esteem comes from real accomplishments, not from others telling you how special you are. Children actually see through that ruse.

How many of us see Freshmen students first realize that they are not as brilliant as they have been led to believe, especially those coming from distressed high schools. Now that they are competing at a new level, it is a rude awakening. Some accept the challenge and others give up. We are doing kids a disservice by propping them up artificially.

2. drsam - August 02, 2010 at 09:48 am

With all the due respect to the position of this article (doubting that narcissism is on the rise), I would like to point out a salient characteristic about narcissism. It creates a blindness and a bias. What is that characteristic? Most extreme narcissists will NEVER admit they are narcissists. Those same narcissists, if they are in charge of research on narcissism, will suffer the same blindness. Hence, their conclusions will have tremendous bias, no matter what their credentials are. We all know how academia can be a powerful magnet attracting this group. Knowledge puffs up. Arrogance abounds... and the blindness that accompanies it.


[Links removed by moderator.]

3. mbelvadi - August 02, 2010 at 10:35 am

Since this article is about a problem of evidence in certain social science claims, I'd like to know where is your evidence that "competition" has decreased in youth experiences? You keep citing dodge ball, as if elimination of that particularly horrific game (in which authority figures actually encourage normal kids to act like bullies) is by itself evidence of a war on all kinds of competition. In the meantime, kids as young as 3 find themselves having to compete academically to get into the "right" pre-schools/kindergarten, participation in local, competitive, sports like soccer has definitely risen significantly for both boys and girls, and the Internet has given kids new ways to compete with each other outside of the control of the adults, like who has the most "friends" on Facebook, not to mention the video games.

I also take issue with the very idea that any level of narcissism below that of "pathological" is a good thing. I don't know if the author of this article has ever lived in another country besides the US, but like the fish who doesn't know what water is, I suspect he doesn't really perceive how much damage to society is done by the levels of narcissism that are present in a wide swath of youth, as evidenced by the literally thousands of anecdotes faculty have posted on the Chronicle forums about "snowflake" students and the like. The US is now home to what is probably the most narcissistic culture the world has ever seen, and it takes living somewhere else to see what it does to daily relationships with neighbors, colleagues, classmates, etc.

4. rhandrich - August 02, 2010 at 10:38 am

The question of whether Millennials (aka Gen Y) are more narcissistic than preceding generations has been hotly debated for a number of years now. We have a review article based on the DATA as opposed to opinion, anecdotes, and feelings in the current issue of The Jury Expert.

There are differences in this generation (compared to others) to be sure. We happen to think those same differences were loudly shouted when Generation X was coming of age and likely when the Boomers reached that milestone as well. It's just that now, with internet access so pervasive and blogging giving everyone a bully pulpit--we hear more (and more constantly) about the troubles with 'this generation'.

I hope you will read (and comment on!) our article: Tattoos, Tolerance, Technology, and TMI: Welcome to the land of the Millennials (aka Generation Y). You can view it on the web at: http://www.astcweb.org/public/publication/article.cfm/1/22/4/Tattoos-and-Tolerance-and-Technology-and-TMI

Rita Handrich
Editor, The Jury Expert

5. gplm2000 - August 02, 2010 at 11:14 am

In my humble opinion, we have a society that values tatoos, body piercing, dressing-like-a-slut, impolite, four letter words on TV, seeing rolemodels in an inner-city self-defeating culture, as well as open-admissions for priviledged groups. It would seem that narcissism is the least of US society's worries. An academic exercise in staring at one's navel.

6. brasero - August 02, 2010 at 12:33 pm

This is just another "what's the matter with these kids today".
I say, better have kids exposing their unbridled narcissism when they are young and in the classroom and ball field rather than when they are grown ups in the world when those skin deep egos have real power to to do damage.

7. droslovinia - August 02, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I just know that everyone was waiting to hear my take on narcissism, since it is so significant, but as the title suggests, the tendency to use words like "epidemic" when discussing a social issue often create self-fulfilling prophecies. On the other hand, there appear to be a number of trends that would suggest that the "breaks" to our runaway egos are being pulled away. Anecdotally, it looks like something is going on, but, given as how the perception of "problem" can negate "subjective" testing, we'll have to either learn to rely on our "feeling" or measure someting else if we really want some certainty on what's going on here.

8. goxewu - August 02, 2010 at 01:42 pm

Re #2:

While I don't particularly care one way or t'other about this issue (because I'm nearly perfect myself), stuff such as this gets under my craw:

"Most extreme narcissists will NEVER admit they are narcissists. Those same narcissists, if they are in charge of research on narcissism, will suffer the same blindness. Hence, their conclusions will have tremendous bias, no matter what their credentials are."

Notice the devious insinuation that people who do research on narcissism are--if they don't agree with Dr. Sam on the subject--are narcissists themselves, therefore blind to their own affliction, and therefore the authors of biased research.

If narcissism ain't on the rise, fewer customers for videos from Dr. Sam.

(Check Dr. Sam's credentials on his website. We're not exactly talkin' Harvard here; rather a for-profit doctorate from a distance learning company.)

9. jaysanderson - August 02, 2010 at 03:08 pm

Okay...I went to Dr. Sam's web as goxewu suggested. Observations:
1. Web Header-- "Dr. Sam: Changing Lives" Dr. Sam seems well-acquainted with the concept of narcissism.
2. Web animations generally creepy and disturbing.

That's all I have to say about that.

10. psyc132 - August 02, 2010 at 04:12 pm

After reading this article, I can't help but wonder if the author has actually read the two books by Twenge and colleagues that were referenced. If he had, he would know that the authors do not disparage the newest generation, rather they discuss with compassion and concern the unintended negative effects of the self esteem movement on the up-and-coming generation. The arguements are evidence-based and completely jive with psychological theory and what college instructors discuss all the time in the discussion sections of the Chronicle--there is a signficant proportion of young people with unrealistic perceptions of their own abilities, efforts, and anticipated rewards. Why are we surprised this is the case when so many were told their whole lives that they are wonderful and perfect in every way?

P.S. This is not the lament of a curmudgeon--I am a young postdoc who grew up in the midst of the self esteem movement.

11. drfunz - August 02, 2010 at 05:21 pm

I am not so sure narcissism is increasing. What I see is an increase in settling for mediocracy once the student realizes he/she is not perfect.


Student: I have been told I am brilliant and perfect, but I only got a B. WHY???

RealityTeacher: Well, you are not brilliant or perfect. You seem to have above average ability. Your work merited a B, which IS above average. It is possible that you are capable of learning more ... You missed many details and therefore your work lacks depth. If you worked harder, you could earn higher than a B.

Student: Meh! I guess B is OK... I really don't want to work harder.

The average college freshman reports studying no more than 7 hours per week. Ghastly.

12. drfunz - August 02, 2010 at 05:23 pm

Oops.. I meant mediocrity... perhaps mediocracy is leadership by the average????
LOL... it has been a VERY LONG DAY!

13. trendisnotdestiny - August 02, 2010 at 08:20 pm

@ goxewu,

Interesting topic here...

Clinically, narcissists are generally attracted to four things above all others in their pursuits: 1) power 2) money 3) beauty & 4) accomplishment/personal fame.

The pervasiveness of the disorder or condition in our culture has been aided by several economic beliefs:

A) Markets once opened are always productive to someone
--- plastic surgery, pornography, investment banking, cosmetics

B) Satiating the individualized wants of consumers as justification to sell a dominant narrative of narcissism
---- demonstrating conspicuous consumption via debt
---- selling limited versions of beauty & body shape
---- selling surface and ridiculing depth

C) External validation becomes a necessary financial goal
---- implications for the media (confused about its role)
---- competition for space & face time (creates busy noise)
---- narcissists will sell their soul to get it

By virtue of living in this culture, we all may be more subject to narcissistic concerns... We must also remind ourselves that the opposite of narcissism is a self loathing... There is a lot of this from a society who admires power, beauty, and money while not being able to admit our weaknesses in our wars, our business transactions and what it takes in this society to make a lot of money....

14. jffoster - August 02, 2010 at 09:30 pm

One question about a particular part of Ferguson, the poster original,'s article, the part that reads thus:

"And, as far as selfishness goes, evidence suggests that young people are engaged in community service and other civic activities more than before."

How much of this, er, "engagement" is due to genuine civic and altruistic interest and how much of it is due to "required volunteering" by totalitarian high schools or volunteering because they've been told that's what the "good" colleges care about?

15. dooglebug - August 03, 2010 at 01:01 am

It's not just a problem with students. I don't need any research to confirm that students are more self-centered. Stepping into the classroom every day shows this to be a fact that is here to stay. Helping students to manage that narcissism is a full time job. What is also apparent is that young professors entering the field are also victims of this. Their levels of narcissism are just as irritating and can be harmful to their students. It makes me sad to see all of this focus on the self.

16. tkiedis - August 03, 2010 at 06:01 am

Thanks for your article. I would suggest spending a year with my daughter's middle school students. Narcissism is on the rise. Many (not all) ... entitled and self-absorbed.

17. oceanobserver - August 03, 2010 at 08:15 am

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18. prosperitylove79 - August 03, 2010 at 08:26 am

Can I ask what rock this author is under? I have been teaching at a community college for 7 years and I see the changes!! I am 30 and my parents never called the school or college I attended, I took care of my own problems/issues. Many of the students today cannot make the deal with or make decisions they have been so lawfully entitled to make!

19. mmccllln - August 03, 2010 at 09:14 am

To #10...
I agree with your statement. The Twenge bashers have a negative take on her writing (perhaps because it damages their own self-esteem), but having read the two books, I find them interesting and on target.
Having worked with college students for nearly 30 years now, there are clear differences in today's students as opposed to the ones 10, 20 and 25 years ago. Youth in any age are whiners and complainers - my generation was no different. The difference I see is that in previous generations, after the whining and complaining, the responsibility still fell on the shoulders of the student and it was up to them to sink or swim.
I spend more time now talking to parents than I do students. That is a definite change. Although 'epidemic' is too strong a word, to say that this self-esteem generation doesn't have stark differences from previous ones can only come from someone who spends little or no time actually dealing with them.

20. drsam - August 03, 2010 at 02:28 pm

Goexu said,"Notice the devious insinuation that people who do research on narcissism are--if they don't agree with Dr. Sam on the subject--are narcissists themselves, therefore blind to their own affliction, and therefore the authors of biased research.

If narcissism ain't on the rise, fewer customers for videos from Dr. Sam.

(Check Dr. Sam's credentials on his website. We're not exactly talkin' Harvard here; rather a for-profit doctorate from a distance learning company.)"

I believe Mr./Ms. Goexu misinterpreted my words. I never said that ALL persons doing research on narcissism are narcissists. My point was that if an EXTREME narcissist does research on narcissism then there is a high level of bias built into his/her study and results. Extreme narcissists will hardly ever admit they are narcissists. That's my point.

I can see why you may feel I am a narcissist from looking at my website. My response is that were true if I promise what I cannot deliver and misrepresent myself. A damn good statistician who does consulting work must promote himself/herself. Why can't he/she promote herself as a damn good statistician. It would be out of character if he/she promoted themselves are a medical doctor. I happen to be very good at what I do. I put out my shingle out there for those who are looking for my level of expertise and experience.

I personally believe that everyone has degrees for narcissism. Too little is unhealthy as in having a low self-esteem. Too much is extreme and therefore a disorder as in having a "God complex." Having some is good as in healthy self-care.

I'm sorry that Mr./MS. Goexu had to resort to trashing my programmatically and Regionally Accredited Ph.D. Alma Mater as coming from a "for profit" and "distance" institution. Most of us don't have the privilege of having a Harvard degree. Kudoes if you have one. The debate on "profit" versus non-profit schools and distance versus "brick n' mortar" schools has ensued for a very long time and the verdict is not a decided one. It is sad that Mr./Ms. Gexu must not realize that most higher ed institutions are offering online degrees including Harvard (http://www.extension.harvard.edu/DistanceEd/).

Academia is full of silly and immature games... much like little children in old bodies vying for power and prestige trying to prove who has the biggest gonads. I've seen grads from State Universities trashed because they did not have an Ivy League degree. Pecking orders... and a lot of ego... maybe narcissisma?


MIT offering a distance degree: http://sdm.mit.edu/distance.html
Cornell U.: http://www.sce.cornell.edu/dl/index.php
Columbia U.: http://www.cvn.columbia.edu/
Stanford U: http://bmi.stanford.edu/distance-education/
U. of Illinois: http://www.online.uillinois.edu/
NYU: http://www.distance-education.org/Schools/New-York-University-129.html

21. saraid - August 03, 2010 at 05:25 pm

@drsam (#20), no, you're not being defensive or thin-skinned at all.

The article is a long-winded way to say, "More science, less fear-mongering," and I find no problem with that. Being a damn good statistician doesn't do you much good when the numbers you're analyzing aren't based on anything useful.

22. exprofnlovingit - August 03, 2010 at 07:02 pm

As pointed out in the article, there is a distinction between pathological narcissism and the generic term narcissism, which if often used interchangeably with self-centeredness. Re Dr. Sam: if you have ever known a pathological narcissist, you will recognize that Sam Vaknin is an articulate, knowledgeable educator regarding the devastating effects wrought by men and women with narcissistic personality disorder. Those trashing him demonstrate their own ignorance of the lacerating reality of NPD.

23. 11161452 - August 04, 2010 at 01:03 am

I don't think this Dr. Sam is Sam Vaknin--who did write a large body of literature on NPD. I read much of it, and he has a lot of valuable insights.

24. goxewu - August 04, 2010 at 09:50 am

Re #20:

* The thing about pecking orders is that the people in them always think that those higher up in them don't deserve to be there, while they're certain that those below them deserve to be where they are. People with degrees from R1 state universities think that people with Ivy League degrees get undeserved cred, while they're certain that they themselves deserve more cred than people with degrees from mid-level state universities. And so on down the line, until we get to people with degrees from for-profit distance-learning institutions thinking they're unfairly dissed, while being simultaneously certain that they're better than people with trade school certificates, community college degrees, and just plain ol' life experience.

* I know that Dr. Sam wasn't--technically--talking about all narcissicism researchers being narcissists in denial. That's why I called what he said a "devious insinuation." The dominoes of implication fall thusly: Lots of narcissism researchers are themselves narcissists in denial >> one of the characteristics of this denial is denying that narcissism is on the rise >> Prof. Ferguson denies narcissism is on the rise >> Prof. Ferguson is probably a narcissist in denial. (Dr. Sam is clever enough, though, to state things in such a way that he retains what the politicians call "plausible deniability.")

* Gee, if MIT, NYU, Cornell, Stanford, Columbia and the University of Illinois offer online degrees, a 2006 Ph.D. in psychology from Capella University must be right up there with those. A 2005 online review of Capella University (http://searchwarp.com/swa25826) that even-handedly sums up the good points and bad points of the school, says, "While many of the individual schools within Capella carry quite a strong reputation, the psychology school is regarded as quite unsatisfactory...the program is till now, not approved by the apex American Psychological Association (APA) despite being in existence for so many years."

* Finally, take a look at the website of Dr. Sam. (There's a nice, dignified professional moniker for you--Dr. Phil wannabe, anyone?) Judge for yourselves. Is this the website of an intellectually serious psychologist or a garden variety "counselor" in showbiz--or even, as per comments #9 and #17, narcissist's--clothing?

25. jimbobjoe - August 05, 2010 at 09:57 pm

The main issue I have with Twenge's analysis is that it is built around an assumption which I think is absurd: that, over a period of 10-20 years, schools, uniformly and nationally, adopted programs to boost self-esteem that were so successful that they became detrimental.

Considering the success and effectivity of other schooling initiatives, I find this difficult to accept.

26. goxewu - August 06, 2010 at 09:25 am

Tip to "Samuel": The moderator most likely erased "Samuel's" previous comment because of the advertising of his obviously commercial website.

27. drsam - August 06, 2010 at 02:05 pm


Dice me all you want. Read the list of committee persons on my dissertation. Notice that the Faculty Mentor and Chair is not Dr. Gray, as I have said. No sleight of hand as you try to impose. Why ProQuest put him as the Chair I don't know. The fact is that Dr. Gray was the dept. chair at the time. Two different things.

Now, go beat up on you next victim.


28. goxewu - August 07, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Re #31:

Is that professional diagnonsis?

"Sick puppy" = Somebody who looks too closely at the slippery use of credentials. (First the degrees--still no word on the bachelor's--then the close reading of the dissertation--not by me, but by a couple of people who seem to know what they're talking about--then the "Who was really chair of the dissertation committee?" bait 'n' switch, then the "It's all ProQuest's fault" exculpation.) Proud to be a member of the dog pound.

29. drsam - August 07, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Never heard of that word "diagnonsis."

Would you continue to feed a rabid creature that tries to rip your arm off every time?

30. goxewu - August 08, 2010 at 08:02 am

Re #33:

Typo. "Diagnosis." Good catch.

drsam is right not to want to continue to feed "a rabid creature that tries to rip your arm off every time."

"Sick puppy" and "rabid creature," though, seem to mean someone who wonders why:

* drsam doesn't list a bachelor's degree among his master's and doctorate on his website's credential page.

* drsam's dissertation was so thoroughly criticized by two commenters who appeared to know what they were talking about.

* drsam could mount only a weak, isn't-it-nice-we-can-disagree defense of that dissertation.

* drsam put down his master's as coming from a university's main campus, when in fact it was awarded at its florida branch.

* drsam put down one, presumably more illustrious professor, as chair of his dissertation committee, while another was the actual chair.

* drsam first tried to explain away the dissertation-committee chair-switch by saying it was the questioner's confusion, that he meant only that the illustrious professor was chair of the department at the time. (Note: The "Credentials" page of drsam's website clearly implies that the department chair was the chair of his dissertation committee.)

* drsam then tried to explain away the discrepancy by saying it was all ProQuest's fault: "Why ProQuest put him as the Chair I don't know." (ProQuest presumably chose the purple smoke and the "whoosh" sound effects, too. AndProQuest is presumably unwilling to correct the dissertation-chair mistake.)

If wondering about such things got me called a "sick puppy" and "rabid creature," I wonder why wondering why there have never been any real answers forthcoming from drsam get me called next.

The irony is, or course, that almost everything drsam has posted since his first comment, ties in quite nicely with his own original point about narcissism and denial.

31. tcli5026 - August 08, 2010 at 05:30 pm

My sense is Jean M. Twenge, whose work seemed to provoke this article, is just trying to make money. Either she or the publisher chose titles that would "sell." And, perhaps, Dr. Twenge (I haven't and will not read the books) wrote in a purposely exaggerated and non-scientific manner, again, with the purpose of selling more books and making money.

32. zephyrzoe1 - August 09, 2010 at 08:02 pm

After seeing comments from "goxewu" attached to other articles, it's obvious he/she is not here to contribute anything meaningful to this or any other discussion. As was the case with previous entries, these add absolutely nothing anyone else wants to read. Talk about narcissistic - just like's seeing its name in print? - but also unnecessarily mean and vicious. I'm requesting this commenter be blocked from the Chronicle. I can get all the nasty stuff I want from the FOXnews specialists.

33. goxewu - August 10, 2010 at 02:20 pm

Re #32:

Guy comments on the narcissism post as an expert, includes his commercial website. (Moderators later removed it.) Visit to the website turns up lots of credential peculiarities. Guy with the website calls person who noticed the peculiarities a "sick puppy" and a "rabid creature." And zephyrzoe1 wants ME "blocked from the Chronicle"?

34. demery1 - August 13, 2010 at 01:27 pm

Thanks for the great article!

While I am a member of Generation X, I have heard legends tell of a group of indulgent and coddled children referred to as "The ME Generation."

I wonder whatever happened to them? I ssuspect that they grew old and rather than face the mirror, they complained about these kids today....

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