Written on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 by Gemini
Hollywood Stars Are More Self-Obsessed, Narcissistic, Says Study
A CLASS APART? Nicole Richie (left) and Paris Hilton at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in Los Angeles. Two psychologists have produced the first scientific evidence that many celebrities sincerely believe that they are better than the rest of us
Do the stars find themselves as fascinating as their fans do? Yes, says a forthcoming psychological study of Hollywood’s celebrity class. It is not just money or career that makes them seem different: it is their extreme levels of self-love and their compulsive need for public attention. Some stars have long been aware of Hollywood vanity. Beyonce Knowles, the pop singer and actress, said recently: “It’s scary that you rarely meet celebrities that are normal. They live on their own diva planets.”
Two Los Angeles psychologists have produced the first scientific evidence that many celebrities sincerely believe that they are better than the rest of us. Their forthcoming book suggests that many pop culture icons are heading for disaster. Mark Young and Drew Pinsky used a mathematical formula to measure the traits, including exhibitionism and vanity, that make up narcissism.
Women are far more narcissistic than men and up to a third are more manipulative and vain about their appearance than the typical woman in the street, according to the psychologists from the University of Southern California. Young and Pinsky have had rare access: celebrities queue up to appear on Loveline, Pinsky’s nationally syndicated radio show, where he has been compared to professor Anthony Clare, the BBC psychiatrist, for his revealing interviewing style.
They asked 200 celebrities who appeared on the programme to fill out a standard questionnaire called the Narcissism Personality Inventory. They were asked how they felt about themselves, including whether they felt they deserved compliments or were embarrassed by them and whether they insisted on being “respected” at all times.
Participants remain anonymous but interviewees featured on Pinsky’s site include Renee Zellweger, Jessica Simpson, Jim Carrey and members of Duran Duran. “It was people like that who emerged as the most narcissistic of all,” said Pinsky. “The fewer real-life skills they had, the louder they tend to be in their attempts to hold on to attention.” Young said he suspected that Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, were in danger of stumbling over the line between fun and malady.