Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another entry for the "They get paid for this?" file

BREITBART.COM - USC Study: Celebrities Really Are More Narcissistic Than the General Public:
"The authors found that the celebrities participating in the study had statistically significantly higher narcissism scores compared to aspiring business leaders (MBA students) and the general population. Reality TV personalities had the highest overall narcissism scores when compared with actors, musicians and comedians."

I was particularly struck by this blindingly obvious insight reported from the research - celebrity does not seem to create narcissism, but narcissists seem to be attracted to celebrity.

DUH! People who feel a need for applause gravitate to careers where they can be applauded. "'Our research also shows that many celebrities exhibit narcissistic behavior prior to becoming famous, which could indicate a self-selection bias for the entertainment industry by certain personality types,' said Young ..." one of the study's authors.

That bit about self-selection may be more revealing than Dr. Young lets on. As the story explains, "The research data were collected anonymously and confidentially from celebrities selected at random during guest appearances on the nationally syndicated Westwood One radio show "Loveline," based at the KROQ-FM radio station in Los Angeles. The celebrities were administered the NPI test during breaks on the show, which Pinsky has hosted for the past 20 years."

First, even among celebrities, might one not reasonably expect that those willing to go on a radio program called "Loveline" might already be self-selected to an important degree. Second, there may have been some randomization of the asking of guests to participate in taking the Narcissistic Personality Inventory during program breaks, but did all asked agree to it? If not, there is another layer of self-selection. And, there is the question whether the validation of the NPI extends to its administration in a piece-meal fashion rather than at a single sitting.

Another example of the valuable contribution of social science research to our daily lives.


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