Millennials might not be as narcissistic as everyone thought


UMass Amherst graduates take a selfie at the start of the commencement there this month. (Dave Roback/The Republican via AP)

If you ever read anything about millennials online, you’ve probably seen something calling this generation narcissistic. A surge in self-importance, some say! “Deluded narcissists,” others opine! Whatever this “Me Me Me Generation” article was!

Well, it turns out that because many millennials began their professional lives during an economic nightmare, they are actually less likely to be self-interested when they get older. 

That’s according to new research published in the journal Psychological Science. Emily Bianchi of Emory University notes that “people who enter adulthood during recessions are less likely to be narcissistic later in life” than people who start working during more financially comfortable times. (Thanks to Melissa Dahl, writing for the new site Science of Us, for flagging this.)

Studies found that people who started working during economic downturns reported fewer narcissistic tendencies when they got older, and chief executives who entered the workforce during economic downturns tended to pay themselves less than executives who didn’t, she found. (A separate study earlier this year found that a certain amount of narcissism can make for a more effective leader, though only to a certain point — once there’s too much, it becomes a problem.)

So are you narcissistic? If you want to find out, maybe go take this Narcissistic Personality Quiz and see what it says.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · May 13