(CBS) Narcissism, the out-of-bounds love of oneself, is alive and well in the digital age. Just ask your Facebook friends. Actually, according to a new study, you don't even have to ask them, because they are pretty easy to spot.
The narcissistic ones spend their day flooding your account with the tiniest minutia of their lives, from the struggle to clip their toe nails to pictures of their morning toast.
It's fascinating stuff, at least they think so.
According to the study of almost 300 students by Flagler College psychology professor Meghan M. Saculla and Western Kentucky University psychology professor W. Pitt Derryberry, young people who constantly promoted themselves on Facebook and MySpace and used the networks to become more popular came off as narcissistic. They also saw themselves as narcissistic, so at least they weren't delusional.
In the research, broken down by ars technica, males were more prone to this behavior even though women tended to have more online friends. The study authors readily admit demographics may have played a part. Their small sample had more girls than boys and the group was disproportionally from lower income and rural backgrounds.
Narcissism, at least when self absorption leads to a miscalculation of one's prowess and a demand that others heap praise, has long been treated as a personality disorder. But recently, its status has been demoted. It will be removed from the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, which is the bible of psychiatric problems.
That is sure to anger narcissists everywhere. In fact, they may just tell you about it... on Facebook.
The original study can be found on Digital Commons. It will be presented at the 2011 American Educational Research Association conference later this week.