Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse, 1903.
Narcissism continues to rise in American society, along with hostility and anger. The latest research to support the growth of this psychological disorder concerns popular song lyrics.
University of Kentucky psychologist Nathan DeWall and his colleagues recently analyzed lyrics from the Billboard Hot 100 Chart from 1980 to 2007. They found a statistically significant trend toward narcissism in the music, with the words "I" and "me" gradually replacing "we" and "us."
Narcissism and outward hostility have been linked by psychology research in the past, and DeWall's analysis shows that it's linked in song lyrics as well. "In the early '80s lyrics, love was easy and positive, and about two people," psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego University says. "The recent songs are about what the individual wants, and how she or he has been disappointed or wronged."
In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful and beloved youth who loved none but himself. He wasted away staring at his reflection in the surface of a pond. According to several new studies, more and more of today's youths are developing the rather unattractive quality exhibited by Narcissus in the fable.
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