All attention seekers are narcissists

Facebook and Co: after-school centers for narcissists and self-promoters

Social networking sites are increasingly showing narcissistic traits in their members. This is the result of a study carried out by scientists at San Diego State University (SDSU) among more than 1,000 college students from across the United States. 57 percent of them stated that people in their age group use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace primarily for self-marketing, narcissism and attention-seeking. The scientists also claim to have found that "Generation Y" of those born after 1980 generally place more value on self-promotion, narcissism, increased self-confidence and the search for attention than previous generations. In any case, two thirds of the respondents agreed with this statement.

Self-centered character traits

"College students have clearly found that their peers are increasingly showing self-centered character traits. It is fascinating what an honest diagnosis they make of the downside of their generation," says Jean Twenge, co-author of the study "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in." the Age of Entitlement ". 40 percent of those surveyed are even of the opinion that such character traits are helpful in order to survive in a competitive world.

When asked by pressetext, Rolf Haubl, managing director of the Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt, confirms that the fight for attention has increased in the media age: "Today, children and young people are exposed to overstimulation, in which the media naturally play a large part. You have to do more and more to be noticed and recognized and thus come under social pressure. " In addition, the traditional ideas about childhood and youth in society have changed, argues Haubl. "The ideal image of childhood in the country has long since ceased to be tenable. The bond between parents and children has weakened in society as a whole, which means that the children have to assert themselves," says the psychoanalyst.


The narcissistic character was already intensively investigated by science in the 1960s and 1970s. "Narcissists are overly self-centered and for the most part see social contacts as instrumental. However, not from a selfish, self-loving perspective, but rather from a perspective of self-hatred," explains Haubl. In relation to today's generation, self-portrayal and attention-seeking personality traits have definitely increased. However, "Generation Y" shows more flexibility when it comes to character formation. "A flexible character who is used to fighting for attention and recognition is in fact more beneficial than a hindrance in today's working world," sums up Haubl. (pte)