The researchers found that they could reliably identify narcissistic people by asking them the exact question (including the note) - to what extent do you agree with this statement: "I am a narcissist." (Note: The word 'narcissist' means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.) And people rated themselves on a scale of 1 (not very true of me) to 7 (very true of me).
Results showed that people's answer to this question lined up very closely with several other validated measures of narcissism, including the widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI). The difference was that this new survey, which the researchers called the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS), has one question, while the NPI has 40 questions to answer.
Narcissistic people have low empathy, and empathy would be one key motivator of philanthropic behavior such as donating money or time to organizations and overall, narcissism would be problematic for both individuals and society, as those who think they are already great don't try to improve themselves and for society because people who are only thinking of themselves and their own interests are less helpful to others.
Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University, said that people who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact and they don't see narcissism as a negative quality as they believe they are superior to other people, so they are fine with saying that publicly.
He further emphasized that SINS shouldn't be seen as a replacement for the longer narcissism questionnaires because NPI and other instruments could provide more information to researchers, such as which form of narcissism someone has, however, SINS could allow researchers to identify narcissists very easily.
The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.