In the age of groomed Facebook profiles and dreams of overnight celebrity via reality TV, this may not surprise you: researchers at San Diego State University have found that books published over the past few decades contain an increasing amount of narcissistic language.
Led by psychologist Jean Twenge, the researchers determined that “Individualistic words and phrases,” — such as “unique,” “personalize,” “self,” “all about me,” “I am special,” “I’m the best” — have increased in use between 1960 and 2008, even when controlling for changes in communal words and phrases.” It would seem from their findings that “language in American books has become increasingly focused on the self and uniqueness in the decades since 1960.”
What do you think? Is this a sign of an unhealthy culture of self-absorption or a healthy sign of increased self-esteem and identity?
Photograph courtesy of AstridWestvang on Flickr.