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Geek culture and narcissism


First: bad article and a great example of how not to do science reporting. Give me the numbers or hush.

Second, this is both really obvious and really counter-intuitive, depending on context.

Geeks (nerds, outsiders, weirdos of all ilk), I would expect, have probably the same rate of narcissistic tendencies as the general population. 6.2%, but I think narcissism is a spectrum disorder and about 1-2% are true narcissists or have gone off into psychopath land, and another 5 or so percent are drifting towards narcissism. Of course, this is pretty close to the same percentages as narcissists in Methodist clergy and other religious groups. So, geeks, pastors, "normal people" all seem to have about the same distribution in my experience and research.

At a Geek convention, however, I would bet that those in cosplay, those who are experts in some subject, etc, all exhibit far higher rates of narcissism than the general population and the same population at other times. Conventions of like-minded people (especially those who normally see themselves as outsiders) brings out the competitiveness, chest-thumping and bra-size measuring traits which normally get suppressed. So, I think the study is flawed by the environment in which it was conducted. The "I'm more of a fan than you" vibe of conventions will cause people to display more narcissistic traits than otherwise. That's kind of the point of these conventions; people need a outlet for what they repress most of the time. Festivals, masques, carnivals, ... office Christmas parties ..., these exist in every culture because we all recognize that we need a safety valve to blow off steam.

For those who have to repress their freak-flag (people who willingly dress up as Wookies?) most of the time and then once or twice a year get lauded with all kinds of adoration for what is normally aberrant behavior, of course they are going to express more narcissism in situ.