What Do Narcissists See When They Look in the Mirror?

Second, physical attractiveness is positively correlated with mirror gazing.  In one study, women who reported being satisfied with their appearance before mirror gazing, actually felt even more attractive and satisfied after they gazed at themselves.  In an interesting field study, women and men were observed as they walked past a section of reflecting glass that served as a mirror. The amount of time spent by each person gazing at his or her own image was recorded. The physical attractiveness of each participant was also rated separately by experimental observers. For both females and males, time spent mirror gazing was positively correlated with their physical attractiveness.

Third, narcissists are considered more attractive than the average person.  A statistical analysis (meta-analysis) review of almost 50 different studies comprised of over a thousand research participants revealed a small but reliable positive correlation between narcissism and physical attractiveness. The studies were based on observers’ ratings of attractiveness (not the narcissists’ rating themselves). So the measure of physical attractiveness was less biased.  It’s easy to imagine why narcissists rate themselves as more attractive—but why would they actually appear more attractive to others too? Narcissists do enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror. They may spend more time grooming themselves to bolster their grandiose self-images. In this way, narcissists may be more prone to self-objectify—and identify with and to base their self-worth on their external appearance, instead of their character.

Finally, the hallmark of narcissism is lack of empathy and compassion. It’s been found in many experiments and clinical observations that narcissists have a habitual self-absorbed perspective that seems to prevent them from being aware of the emotions and experiences of others.

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