Jean M. Twenge, associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, recently published a study on the responses of students who took the Narcissistic Personality Inventory test between between 1982 and 2006. She found this generation is the most narcissistic generation in recent history.
Narcissism is defined as excessive vanity and sense of entitlement. The researchers say that people who exhibit such qualities tend to lack empathy for others, behave aggressively when insulted, and ignore the needs of those around them.
Twenge blames this blames this apparent scourge, in part, on the "self-esteem movement," pushed by parents, educators, and the media -- all of whom, she says, have tried too hard to build children's confidence.
Like any study, the results of this one has its detractors. In 2006 a survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles found two out of three college freshmen believed it was essential or very important to help others who are in difficulty, the highest percentage in a quarter century. A record number -- 83 percent -- said they had volunteered at least occasionally during their senior year of high school.
Twenge believes all this volunteering is more a reflection of school requirements than any real interest in civic engagement.
I'm just happy to see two California schools fighting it out. See, they're not all on the same page.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education-subscription required.