Narcissism and the use of personal pronouns revisited

Angela L. Carey, Melanie S. Brucks, Albrecht C P Küfner, Nicholas S. Holtzman, Fenne Große Deters, Mitja D. Back, M. Brent Donnellan, James W. Pennebaker, Matthias R Mehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Among both laypersons and researchers, extensive use of first-person singular pronouns (i.e., I-talk) is considered a face-valid linguistic marker of narcissism. However, the assumed relation between narcissism and I-talk has yet to be subjected to a strong empirical test. Accordingly, we conducted a large-scale (N = 4,811), multisite (5 labs), multimeasure (5 narcissism measures) and dual-language (English and German) investigation to quantify how strongly narcissism is related to using more first-person singular pronouns across different theoretically relevant communication contexts (identity-related, personal, impersonal, private, public, and stream-of-consciousness tasks). Overall (r =.01, 95% CI [-.02,.04]) and within the sampled contexts, narcissism was unrelated to use of first-person singular pronouns (total, subjective, objective, and possessive). This consistent near-zero effect has important implications for making inferences about narcissism from pronoun use and prompts questions about why I-talk tends to be strongly perceived as an indicator of narcissism in the absence of an underlying actual association between the 2 variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1-e15
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume109
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Fingerprint

Narcissism
narcissism
human being
layperson
German language
Linguistics
Consciousness
consciousness
English language
Language
Communication
Research Personnel
linguistics
communication

Keywords

  • Language
  • LIWC
  • Narcissism
  • Personality
  • Replication
  • Text analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Carey, A. L., Brucks, M. S., Küfner, A. C. P., Holtzman, N. S., Deters, F. G., Back, M. D., ... Mehl, M. R. (2015). Narcissism and the use of personal pronouns revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(3), e1-e15. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000029

Narcissism and the use of personal pronouns revisited. / Carey, Angela L.; Brucks, Melanie S.; Küfner, Albrecht C P; Holtzman, Nicholas S.; Deters, Fenne Große; Back, Mitja D.; Brent Donnellan, M.; Pennebaker, James W.; Mehl, Matthias R.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 109, No. 3, 01.09.2015, p. e1-e15.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Carey, AL, Brucks, MS, Küfner, ACP, Holtzman, NS, Deters, FG, Back, MD, Brent Donnellan, M, Pennebaker, JW & Mehl, MR 2015, 'Narcissism and the use of personal pronouns revisited', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 109, no. 3, pp. e1-e15. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000029
Carey AL, Brucks MS, Küfner ACP, Holtzman NS, Deters FG, Back MD et al. Narcissism and the use of personal pronouns revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2015 Sep 1;109(3):e1-e15. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000029
Carey, Angela L. ; Brucks, Melanie S. ; Küfner, Albrecht C P ; Holtzman, Nicholas S. ; Deters, Fenne Große ; Back, Mitja D. ; Brent Donnellan, M. ; Pennebaker, James W. ; Mehl, Matthias R. / Narcissism and the use of personal pronouns revisited. In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2015 ; Vol. 109, No. 3. pp. e1-e15.
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