Sunday, March 06, 2011

Hymonwitz's snowflakes.

Much to the disgust of some of the men in the manosphere, I have lent some support to Hymnowitz's assertion that some men are stuck in permanent adolescence. I suppose where I and Hymnowitz differ is that I also assert that the the standards of women have also fallen and that many of them are stuck in a permanent adolescence as well.

Psychologically, adult maturity can be thought of the completion of a process starting in childhood, when the individual is solely focused on his self and finishing in late adolescence when the the just mature adult is able to engage in society as a socially conscious member. The narcissist can then be thought of as someone who is stuck in adolescence, someone who has not matured.

Apparently my town is hosting a conference on Personality Disorders.  One of the main speakers will be Dr Jean Twenge, a psychologist with an interest in Narcissism. According to Dr Twenge Narcissism is on the increase and compared to generations before, much more prevalent now. Some people might assume that this is simply the old just whining away as the old are prone to do, but Dr Twenge has studies which go back to the 30's which show a definite change in the prevalence of this anti social vice. The changes are objective. To quote Dr Twenge.
If we assume that the NPI still has a normal distribution, this shift in the mean score means that there are now more college students at the top end of the original distribution. For example, 24% of 2006 college students score 1 SD above the 1979–1985 narcissism mean, compared to 15% during that original data collection. (One SD above the 1979–1985 is a score of 22, representing someone who answers the clear majority of items—22 out of 40—in a narcissistic direction.) It is also interesting to note how recent means compare to data collected on a sample of celebrities such as movie stars,
reality TV winners, and famous musicians (Young & Pinsky, 2006). This celebrity sample had a mean NPI score of 17.84, not much higher than the 2006 regression equation mean of 17.29. Thus, recent college students approach celebrities in their levels of narcissism.
(Egos Inflating Over Time: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory )

The Narcissist is self absorbed and frequently overrates their own self worth and achievements. Being so focused on themselves ,they lack empathy towards others, especially when their actions hurt them. It's a profoundly solipsistic vice, turning the individual in on themselves to the exclusion others. When a Narcissist loves, it's the love of percieved benefits from the other, not the love of the other.

What Dr Twenge has also noted that combined with an increase in narcissism has also been loss of sense of control, the modern narcissist loves themselves and their achievements but feels not in control of their lives. In other words, when something bad happens to them its someone else's fault.

To quote Twenge,
Two meta-analyses found that young Americans increasingly believe their lives are controlled by outside forces rather than their own efforts. Locus of control scores became substantially more external (about .80 standard deviations) in college student and child samples between 1960 and 2002. The average college student in 2002 had a more external locus of control than 80% of college students in the early 1960s. Birth cohort/time period explains 14% of the variance in locus of control scores. The data included 97 samples of college students (n = 18,310) and 41 samples of children ages 9 to 14 (n = 6,554) gathered from dissertation research. The results are consistent with an alienation model positing increases in cynicism, individualism, and the self-serving bias. The implications are almost uniformly negative, as externality is correlated with poor school achievement, helplessness, ineffective stress management, decreased self-control, and depression.

The results clearly support the alienation model outlined in the introduction. As individualism has increased, locus of control has become more external. These data cannot determine the exact origins of the increase in externality; however, several trends seem relevant. Greater cynicism and alienation leads people to believe that their personal actions mean little. Blaming others for negative events has also become more popular, and people are less likely to believe that anyone can be a success despite obstacles in the way. Rather than leading to independence, the increasing individualism of American culture has led people to believe that there is little they can do to change the larger world.

These data also suggest that the outside environment has a strong effect on children. This is contrary to the usual view of children as isolated within their homes and influenced primarily by their families. Children as young as age 9 demonstrate change over time in locus of control, probably because of changes  n the larger social environment. Of course, the effect of the larger environment might be mediated by the  children’s parents; if parents become more external over time, they may pass these attitudes along to their  children. The cynical cultural lesson that one’s fate is determined by outside forces apparently reaches children at an early age

(It’s Beyond My Control: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of Increasing Externality in Locus of Control, 1960–2002)
Twenge has noted that the level of narcissism has risen for both sexes but to quote Twenge again,
We also analyzed single-sex means when they were reported. Because not all studies reported means broken down by gender and some unpublished single-sex means were obtained directly from authors, these analyses represent a subsample of the data that may
not be representative. Thus, these analyses should be interpreted with caution. College men’s NPI scores are not significantly correlated with year (b5.16, ns; k544, d50.12), but college women’s scores are (b5.46, po.002, k544, d50.28). The sex difference in
NPI scores has also declined, b5 .46, po.001; k543 (we conducted this analysis by computing the effect size d for sex differences and weighting the regression by w, the standard weight for d). In 1992 (the first year for which sex difference data were available), men scored 0.45 standard deviation higher than women on the NPI, but
by 2006, men scored just 0.15 SD higher. Thus the sex difference in narcissism has declined from half a standard deviation (a medium effect size) to one-seventh of a SD (a small effect size)


The most recent college students score about the same on the NPI as a sample of celebrities (Young & Pinsky, 2006). The change is linear and steady, with the correlation significant when the analysis is limited to certain years only. It also appears that women are driving the increase in narcissism, consistent with the finding that the generational
increase in agentic traits and assertiveness was stronger for women
(Egos Inflating Over Time: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory )

In the space of two generations women, Hymnowitz's "mature women"  have become as narcissistic as men. 

Twenge, in her papers, goes on to speculate about what has caused this rise in narcissism. She is more nuanced than most and recognises that it is multifactoral but puts a good deal of blame on modern psychology, with its emphasis on self-esteem, especially the unearned variety. Twenge also notes that narcissism seems to vary amongst races and cultures. With Blacks having the highest rates, followed by whites and then Asians. Interestingly she blames a lot of the current financial troubles, not just on the banks, but on a narcissistic society that feels it was owed more than it made and is unable to see its own complicity in its misfortune, preferring to blame the "Bankers" for everything. Once again the avoidance of responsibility.

Personally, I think the Modern Anglo culture of individualism(which is malignantly creeping throughout most of the West) is probably to blame a lot for this phenomena. The endless emphasis on personal rights instead of community obligations tends to reinforce the idea of being a "special snowflake"  to whom everyone owes a living.  Not having a community also enforces the ideal, multiculturalism, creating societies devoid of a common identity,  tends to reinforce the notion of everyman for himself.

What really interests me is the rapid female "advancement" in narcissism to which feminism must be given its rightful due. It's continual emphasis on right's without responsibilities I think, is the prime accelerent in this case.  Mark Richardson recently put up a post which illustrated this quite nicely, it's also why the Modern U.S/Canada/UK/Australian girl is such a risky bet. Hymnowitz's female maturity seems elusive.

The political implications of this rise in narcissism are troubling and I really don't want to go into them further now, but just how considered is a vote by man who refuses to acknowledge that he is responsible for anything and yet is "owed something". The future is going to be ugly.