He has that charismatic charm everyone seems to be drawn to... until he crushes your heart and soul. At cocktail parties, board meetings or on dates, he regales everyone with his stories of personal triumph (quite possibly exaggerated). He makes friends easily, but those relationships always seem to turn out rocky. His habitual preening could rival Kanye West, and that 1970s hit song was definitely written about this guy.
But enough about him... what do you think about him?
Chances are you probably think this guy is a narcissist. Most psychologists say that a healthy sense of self is key to reaching life's goals. But some people manage to achieve a level of self-confidence that crosses over into the realm of pathological personality flaw. And while narcissism is certainly not limited to one gender, new research finds it is much more prevalent in men than in women.
A new large-scale analysis of 355 previously published studies examined three decades worth of research involving more than 475,000 study participants. The researchers found that statistically men scored higher on personality tests for narcissism than women in every age group.
"Generally you see men as a little more external in how they interact with the world. Women tend to be a little more interpersonal. That's consistent with narcissism," Keith Campbell, a professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and author of "The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement," told CBS News.
"In this study what they're talking about is grandiose narcissism, an inflated view of yourself as being special and important," added Campbell, who was not involved in the research.
For the study, published Wednesday in the journal Psychological Bulletin, researchers assessed gender differences in the scoring of Narcissistic Personality Inventory, which looks at three aspects of behavior: leadership/authority, grandiose/exhibitionism and entitlement. They found the widest gender gap in entitlement, which indicates that men are more likely than women to exploit others and feel entitled to certain privileges.
Men also tended to score higher on the leadership/authority scale, meaning they were more likely to exhibit qualities or assertiveness and the desire for power. However, the researchers found both genders are equally likely to display vanity or self-absorption, which fits into the quality of exhibitionism.
The study authors say their research aims to reach a better understanding of the paradoxes that come along with the narcissistic personality trait because it can have both positive and negative effects on life.
"Narcissism is associated with various interpersonal dysfunctions, including the general inability to maintain healthy long-term interpersonal relationships, low levels of commitment to romantic relationships, aggression in response to perceived threats to self-esteem and unethical and/or exploitative behaviors, such as academic dishonesty, white-collar crime and destructive workplace behavior," the researchers write in their study. "At the same time, narcissism has a seemingly positive relationship with some indicators of psychological health such as self-esteem and emotional stability and evidence suggests that narcissists tend to emerge as leaders."
Some researchers, such as Campbell, believe this personality trait occurs for both genetic and cultural reasons. Some societies encourage this quality more in men, as narcissism is often equated with masculinity. Some of it may also be due to how a person is raised. "Telling your child he's special has risks," said Campbell.
Campbell says there are a number of red flags to look out for to determine if you're dealing with a narcissist. They include a tendency toward vanity and materialism, as well as cheating and dishonesty. Another recently published study also points to a tangible sign: selfies.
That study, published in January, found that men who are narcissistic tend to take more selfies. It involved 800 men filling out questionnaires about their selfie habits and also personality traits. Not surprisingly, the men who took a lot of selfies and scored high on narcissism, also tended to have more pronounced anti-social personality traits, psychopathy, and were more prone to self-objectification.
But this era of selfies does not seem to be responsible for any increase in narcissism. Between 1990 and 2013, the study out this week found no sign of either gender becoming more narcissistic over time.