The Narcissism Test—What’s Your Score?

By Dr. Craig Malkin
Author, Clinical Psychologist, Instructor Harvard Medical School
Posted: 07/13/2015, Updated: 07/14/2015

Narcissism is hot. Which should make narcissists very happy.

But it’s also widely—and wildly—misunderstood, due in large part to widespread caricatures of narcissists, who are invariably depicted as vain, primping braggarts.

The problem is that many narcissists, particularly the more introverted ones, who pride themselves not on looks, but on being sensitive and misunderstood, couldn’t give a fig about fame or money. You might not even realize you’ve met one. And people end up falling unhappily in love with quieter narcissists, confused by their fate, because their distress stems from a brand of unhealthy narcissism they never knew existed. To date, in fact, there are three kinds of narcissism, which I describe in Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad—And Surprising Good—About Feeling Special. We may start finding more.

Then there’s the problem of that pesky qualifier, unhealthy.

Many would object, saying that narcissism is inherently unhealthy. And certainly the most popular narcissism assessment to date, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), assumes that all narcissism is bad; each and every point you score on the test inches you closer to being branded a “narcissist.” The problem is even the NPI picks up healthy components of narcissism; there’s hard evidence that one piece of the inventory, which captures extroverted leaders more than disagreeable blowhards, is associated with being a happy, healthy, if somewhat more ambitious human being.

So to summarize: three kinds of narcissism; healthy and unhealthy narcissism; and a bunch of measures that capture arrogance and grandiosity of various kinds—one of which accidentally captures healthy narcissism.

Read the full article:
The Narcissism Test—What’s Your Score? | Dr. Craig Malkin.


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Do you know someone who has a poor sense of smell?


Psychopaths have a remarkably poor sense of smell, according to a study published in 2012.


Researchers in Australia tested a theory that psychopathy may be linked to impaired smell ability. Both phenomena have been independently traced to dysfunction in part of the brain called the orbito-frontal complex (OFC).

Mehmet Mahmut and Richard Stevenson of the Department of Psychology at Sydney’s Macquarie University trialled the olfactory skills of 79 individuals, aged 19 to 21, who had been diagnosed as non-criminal psychopaths. Using “Sniffin’ Sticks” – 16 pens that contain different scents, such as orange, coffee, and leather – they found the participants had problems in correctly identifying the smell, and then discriminating it against a different odor. Those who scored highest on a standard scorecard of psychopathic traits did worst on both counts. The finding could be useful for identifying psychopaths, who are famously manipulative in the face of questioning, says the paper. “Olfactory measures represent a potentially interesting marker for psychopathic traits, because performance expectancies are unclear in odor tests and may therefore be less susceptible to attempts to fake ‘good’ or ‘bad’ responses.”

The OFC is a front part of the brain responsible for controlling impulses, planning and behaving in line with social norms. It also appears to be important in processing olfactory signals, although the precise function is unclear. The study makes clear that a poor sense of smell does not by itself mean that someone is a psychopath. Olfactory dysfunction can also occur in schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Read article.