If you have ever wondered who among your friends is a narcissist, there is actually a scientific way for you to know that and it's easier than you would likely have imagined. A new study suggests that there is a straightforward and effective way of spotting narcissists and all you have to do is ask them a single question.
For the new study published in the journal PLOS ONE on Aug. 5, Sara Konrath, from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy of the Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, and colleagues developed a one-question test for measuring narcissism that they called Single Item Narcissism Scale, or SINS , which they tried on 2,250 individuals.
SINS asks to answer the question "To what extent do you agree with this statement: 'I am a narcissist?'" on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 meaning "not very true of me" and 7 for "very true of me." The results showed that the participants who answered 6 or 7 were also the same people who got high scores for narcissism on Narcissistic Personality Inventory, or NPI, the traditional and most widely used test for measuring narcissism. Unlike SINS which only has one question, NPI is made up of 40 questions.
The researchers wrote they did not initially include the meaning of the word "narcissist" in SINS but after including the definition of the word which means "egotistical, self-focused, and vain," they noticed an increased correlation between NPI and SINS.
Study co-researcher Brad Bushman, from The Ohio State University, said that individuals who do not have problem admitting that they are narcissistic likely are narcissistic because they do not see narcissism as something negative.
"People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact," Bushman said. "You can ask them directly because they don't see narcissism as a negative quality - they believe they are superior to other people and are fine with saying that publicly."
Although SINS could be a more practical option that can be used in cases when participants of a study are surveyed over the phone, the researchers acknowledged that longer tests are still more reliable.
"We believe that this single item measure should only be used when it would be difficult or impossible to include a longer narcissism scale," Konrath and colleagues wrote. "Future studies will help us better understand the predictive properties of the SINS, but for now, the SINS is one useful tool that can help to assess the complex aspects of narcissism with one single item."