BLUF

New research suggests that narcissists may be driven by insecurity and low self-esteem instead of, as previously thought, having an inflated sense of self-importance.

Summary

This article raises questions about narcissism, asking is it really driven by an inflated sense of self-importance? Are narcissists really those over-confident people who boast about their achievements because of an inflated sense of self? New research suggests not. Researchers from New York University conducted a study that concluded that narcissists were actually the opposite of what we have always thought. The researchers found that true narcissism stems from insecurity and that displaying attention-seeking behaviour was a means of coping with these insecurities. The study examined two sub-types of narcissism, known as ‘grandiose’ and ‘vulnerable’ narcissism. They also sought to refine the understanding of a related affliction, psychopathy, which is also characterized by a grandiose sense of self. The results suggested that vulnerable narcissism was a compensatory adaptation to overcome and cover-up low self-worth. Grandiose narcissism, on the other hand, could be better understood as a manifestation of psychopathy.