Study: Why narcissists depend on social media

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Addicted to Social Media?

Thanks to all the selfies and unironically #blessed hashtags, social media often seems like a playground for raging, egomaniacal narcissists. But a new study suggests it's a different kind of narcissist—the shy, insecure, and hypersensitive type—that is most dependent on digital ego-polishing services like Twitter and Facebook.

Researchers from the University of Florence had 535 students take a series of tests to evaluate them for narcissism. Specifically, they looked at ratings on scales for grandiose narcissism, which is associated with arrogance and aggression, and vulnerable narcissism, which is linked with "a defensive and insecure sense of grandiosity," as the study puts it.

More from Vocativ: Activists Crowdfund Bail For Black Lives Matter Protesters

The researchers also evaluated the participants for "problematic" internet usage, using a survey that measures things like difficulty refraining from going online and turning to the internet when feeling depressed.

RELATED: Facebook through the years:

4 PHOTOS
Facebook through the years
See Gallery
Facebook through the years
A businessman displays the Facebook Inc. web page using an Apple iPad, made by Apple Inc. in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Thursday, Aug.19, 2010. Research In Motion Ltd. is turning to technology used in BMW audio systems and the Army�s Crusher tank as it tries to distinguish its new tablet computer from Apple Inc.�s iPad, said three people familiar with the plans. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mark Zuckerbergs facebook page. (Erkan Mehmet / Alamy)
23 March 2015 - Istanbul, TURKEY: Facebook user login screen. The number of active mobile users Facebook has reached 1 billion people. (Photo via Shutterstock)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, found that vulnerable narcissists showed more problematic internet usage and a stronger preference for online (as opposed to IRL) social interaction than grandiose narcissists and non-narcissists alike. Past research has also shown that vulnerable narcissists are more comfortable with online social interaction.

More from Vocativ: Pokémon Go Is Already Sending People To The Hospital

Surprisingly, the researchers found no significant differences between grandiose narcissists and non-narcissists. This contradicts recent research suggesting that grandiose narcissists, which have been the focus of past research in this arena, are more likely than non-narcissists to engage in "problematic" internet usage.

More from Vocativ: There's No Way Out Of The Political Horserace Vortex

"This suggests that [social networking sites] might be the preferred tool among vulnerable narcissists to gain approval and admiration, whereas they might be just one of many tools grandiose narcissists use to achieve narcissistic goals," the researchers wrote. In other words, the internet is filled with narcissists—but some of them feel really bad about themselves, OK?

The post Why Insecure Narcissists Depend On Social Media appeared first on Vocativ.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

A Holocaust Survivor Found These Old Photographs - And Solved A Decades-Old Mystery A Holocaust Survivor Found These Old Photographs - And Solved A Decades-Old Mystery
Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts
Man Finds 5 Abandoned 'Puppies' In His Garden - Then Quickly Realizes He Made A Big Man Finds 5 Abandoned 'Puppies' In His Garden - Then Quickly Realizes He Made A Big