Studies are now showing what many of you may have suspected: We are living in an increasingly narcissistic society.
In a world where primetime television is dominated by a “reality” as false as the Kardashians’ lashes, and people sit across dinner tables checking in on Facebook rather than having face-to-face conversations, this may not come as a surprise.
Much has been written about the rise of narcissism amongst millennials, the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, a generation controversially dubbed “Generation Me” by Professor Jean M. Twenge in 2007. In her most recent work, The Narcissistic Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, Twenge (with W. Keith Campbell) explains: “In data from 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as fast as obesity from the 1980s to the present.” The comparison to obesity suggests that narcissism is another epidemic in America.
Perhaps more troubling, a handful of new studies comparing traits and life goals of young people in high school and college today with those of Gen-Xers and baby boomers at the same age, show an increase in extrinsic values rather than intrinsic values. Millennials are more likely to value money, image and fame over community, affiliation and self-acceptance.