Are you a narcissistic gamer?

Are you a narcissistic gamer?

Hi everyone, this is Jennie Bharaj,
and you are watching my channel on video games and video game academics. If you do like this video,
please make sure to like this video and to subscribe to my channel! Now! This week, we are discussing narcissism in
gaming. First, I�ll be discussing the latest understanding
of narcissism and then I�ll tie that in with video game
consumption. At the end, I want to hear your perspective
on whether or not you agree or disagree. Let�s begin. In psychology, narcissism had always been
thought of as a trait for individuals with high yet very fragile self-esteem. Those with charming personalities but with
a very high ego. Those with admirable qualities, but with extreme
selfishness. However, in 2013, a group of psychologists
got together and identified all these different aspects
of narcissism and classified these aspects into two separate
dimensions of the personality trait. And these two different dimensions were: admiration
seeking and rivalry. Narcissists can seek admiration through charm,
being charismatic, and being appropriately behaved. And they can also partake in rivalry to prevent
social failure by devaluing others, and being aggressive and hostile. This has become a staple definition of narcissism
in Psychology today. For example, in 2015, a paper was published
measuring narcissism in actors. It was found that actors were highly narcissistic
in their desire for admiration. However, compared to the average Joe, actors
ranked less in rivalry. It was concluded that narcissists who seek
admiration but also love to collaborate with one another,
are more likely to gravitate towards acting. Narcissism has easily transferred into the
online social space. The likes, the selfies, the retweets, the
shares. But with the modern time, video games have
also become popularized, so it�s important to understand the link
between video games and narcissism. Prior research to gamer narcissism concluded
that yes, gamer narcissism exists in a gamer. But these studies were too general and were
simply conducted before the two-dimensional narcissism theory became known. In 2015 though, a group of psychologists published
a brand new paper focusing on gamers and the two scopes of narcissism. They conducted a survey with over 2500 Germans
and they asked specifically-detailed questions on game time, game purchases, favourite game
genres, and even their favourite class in MMOs. They discovered that the narcissists of gaming
did not play for storyline or relaxation. Narcissistic gamers who were high on rivalry
played simply to distract themselves. Admiration-seeking gamers played video games
to simulate their imagination, and gain a sense of improvement on their real-life
abilities. In terms of genres, narcissistic gamers with
rivalry preferred playing action games, while admiration seeking gamers preferred
simulation games and jump n� run games of skill. And as for roles in video games, gamers with
rivalry usually played as �lone fighters� to rank up their avatars
and admiration-seeking gamers played as team leaders, especially in MMOs. Additionally, it was found that gamers with
narcissistic rivalry were more attached to video games
and were more inclined to devalue others and self-defend themselves in online gaming. It was also found that these gamers spend
more money and more time on games, just to rank up their character and to distract
themselves from the real world. Rivalry and admiration-seeking dimensions
in narcissism help us see the bright and dark side of gamers. Video games may just be another avenue narcissists
may use to get attention. So, what�s your opinion on this? Do you feel like you may be a narcissistic
gamer? Do you know anyone who could be a narcissistic
gamer? Let me know in the comments, and let�s discuss
this. Cheers, and keep on gaming.


  1. I would say that it all comes down to moderation. I stand under the belief that any trait can be good, in moderation, including narcissism. Having Rivalry Narcissism is necessary for competition between players to foster, while having Admiration-Seeking Narcissism can be used to help develop a sense of ambition towards succeeding in and being the best in a given game. The problem arises when these traits are in excess. Too much Rivalry Narcissism could lead to Tribalism, and too much admiration-seeking could lead to Elitism. Mind you this is coming from someone with no real background in psychology, but honestly, I'd just say it comes down to self control and moderation

  2. I'll be aggressive to every normie trying to peddle misinformation whether they have sincere motives or not. I have got no time for bullshit like that because it spawns more normies and further damages knowledgeable discussion and strength in communities.

  3. Are we talking about the mental illness called narcissism or the colloquial use where normal human beings express signs of narcissism?
    It's sort of like the "alpha, beta, omega" pseudo science, or the Myers-Briggs personality test, they're ways of labeling or boxing people into categories; While I would argue that we are that simple at heart, we're also not defined by our most basic expressions.
    Here's the gamer aspect; People rush to judge gamers, because even though it has become thoroughly mainstream, they are still considered a sort of social outcasts.

    "Gamers are violent", "Gamers are sexist", "Gamers are homophobic", "Gamers are narcissists".
    At their very basic core, out of ignorance and fear, "normies" feel the need to label gamers as simply as possible because they don't understand us and they probably also feel left out.
    You can't define a gamer, because if #notyourshield showed anything, it was that we are incredibly diverse of body, religion, sexuality, race and mind. You might as well study "book readers" or "movie watchers".

    Just to be a bit more on topic; We all experience some degree of those traits, but we don't let them define us, even if we indulge in those feelings. It's the same way with sexy content in games, you can enjoy it just fine without being a reproductive slave that sees their attracted gender as a masturbation tool.
    Or how I can see the lovely and sexy Jennie Bharaj on screen and still hear what she's telling us πŸ˜‰

    So, yeah, of course we experience those traits in different amounts or ways. It's why I'm in a "fashion clan" in Warframe, to play dress-up and receive admiration from others from how my characters look, or compete in a Bloodbowl league to win.
    In other words, we play games to have fun in different ways.

  4. Sounds to me like she's meaning narcissists who are also gamers, not all gamers are degrees of narcissist.

  5. Good stuff you've got here Jennie.

    Small suggestion: maybe try out some music that's less "all over" the pitch spectrum or maybe lower the music volume just a little bit. The reason is that both in this episode and the previous one the music has(/had) a lot of bass, middle and high sounds (pitch is/was "all over the place") and that makes it sometimes hard to concentrate on your speech.

    Maybe make a video on why all CS:GO players scream "cyka blyat" and "kurwa" at me. Just kidding it's because I keep TKing them.

    Love you no homo.

  6. I'm most of the time a leader, but I always let others shine. Mostly I want to lead because things turn out well when I do, but I hate the attention. Often I lead by having a small group of people under me whom I direct (usually very little directing is needed when you have a good team), and let them be the visible people.

    Not sure if that qualifies me as narcissistic or not.

  7. I prefer to play my games alone even on an MMORPG. I like the idea of being the hero and the world to revolve around me, somewhat lol

  8. I hate to say it, but…much of psychology is exactly the same as bullying tactics (it would find more use as flame bait in a comment section), rather than tangible science. However, there are better topics on psychology, but that is NOT one.

  9. I ended up having to think for a while on where I stand when I categorize myself here. Which has been proven to be a more difficult then expected task after watching your video. Ultimately I think there might be more subcategories after those two categories. Time and more research will decided eventually.

  10. The classic definition of narcissism, has always included a sense of over inflated self worth or love of ones self to the extreme, so I'm not sure I would agree with the seemingly over simplified two category system that these studies suggest, as there is no mention of this trait. In fact, it seems that they are more likely defining very different personality traits, and calling it narcessism. The word narcissism we have today derives from the Greek mythological character Narcissus (actually pronounces Nark-is-oss), who upon catching a reflection of himself in the water, fell in love. However, as his reflection was not real, he lost the will to live and died at the waters edge, as he could never be with the one he fell in love with. This is of course a morality tale of taking too much pride to the point of arrogance in an aspect of the self, that turns out to be illusory.

    The categories that these studies suggest are attributes of narcissism, are simply traits in their own rights, and claiming they are a the major traits of narcissism distorts what narcissism is rather that better defines it in my opinion. While I would agree that these are indeed traits commonly found in people who are also narcissistic, these traits themselves do not define narcissism.

    Seeking the admiration of others is fine, albeit a little self deprecating, as your sense of personal worth is coming from an outside source. This is not narcissism. It's quite the opposite to the original meaning. It could only be narcissism, if you are seeking the admiration of others, because you believe THEY would benefit from knowing you, rather than you receiving some benefit from their admiration. The "God's gift" sort of personality. That's not to say that they wouldn't be narcissist-IC, giving of the appearance of apex self confidence in an attempt to convince others to validate you. In and of itself however, I don't think seeking the admiration of others is a negative trait in moderation, people may want the admiration of someone they feel is their superior, not because they love themselves, but because they love the person that they seek to be noticed by. A far cry from the man who fell in love with his reflection.

    While rivalry again can be found in narcissists, I don't think it's a defining trait of narcissism itself. People can become rivals because they see something of value in the other person rather than seeing themselves as more valuable. For me personally, I would consider someone a rival if they constantly pushed me to better myself, to want to prove myself to them and others, and beating them would be to have them recognise my achievement and have my sense of worth validated by someone else. Again this would be a validation from an outside source, not self love, though a certain sense of pride to push on in the face of adversity maybe a prerequisite. A counter argument however, is that true narcissism is incompatible with a sense of rivalry, because if you are a narcissist you would believe yourself to have no rival over all or in your particular field of narcissism.

    When this shifts to gamers however, is probably where I feel this two dimensional version fails the most.

    If someone wants to gain a sense of achievement in games, or as put in the study "a sense of improvement on real life abilities", then the person who uses gaming to achieve those things are doing so because they don't believe they can do it in real life. Such as jump four times their height, drive incredibly well, or be a near perfect shot. Thus they create a perfect avatar, or identify something of themselves in a character, to live vicariously through. This is again quite opposite to traditional narcissism. This isn't a love of ones self, but a knowledge that they will never live up to characters they play as. At most this could be described as narcissism by proxy, the love of the proxy or avatar, and only in this situation does rivalry make sense, as you are invested in the proxy being seen as the best.

    And how the simulation of imagination is narcissistic is beyond my ken. (and Ryu :P)

    Going on to distraction from the real world. I would certainly say I did that for many years, but I wouldn't say that had anything to do with a sense of rivalry. I did this because my school life was awful, and I just wanted to get away. I didn't believe I deserved being the whipping boy, and as such wanted to lose myself in another world. Not for narcissism's sake, but just to stay alive. These were worlds where I felt like I could actually be something or affect change. Legend of Zelda resonated with me, not because Link was the Hero of Time and the once and future saviour of Hyrule, but because he was just a lonely boy. Like me. There is nothing narcissistic in that.

    Now, does that mean that there aren't narcissistic gamers? Of course there are. There will always be, in any group of people those who think of themselves as the superior or the apex. However, I believe these people are quickly filtered out, or distilled. It's like a make or break situation. Either they receive a rude awakening very early on when their sense of superiority sends them into fights they can't win, or they are that damn good, and they win championships. At that point it comes back tot he question I posted in jest to Twitter, are they narcissists if they really are the best?

    Again in traditional narcissism, there is a sense of the extreme, someone who knows they are the best, is different from someone who becomes arrogant over that fact, and believe that their success in a single field, makes them a superior human being. This is where narcissism has it's greatest dangers, and being dropped from such a great height of self appointed godliness, can inevitably lead to depression, psychotic breaks, and suicide when faced with a crushing defeat at the hands of someone who you might otherwise consider below you.

    But that's my thoughts on this.

    Great video all the same πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Jennie and congratulations for your video. I think that narcissistic people in real life is narcissistic in videogames. So, and as you said in the video, they spend more time and money in online video games to have an extended visual impact.
    They love to be in the top positions of the ranking and demonstrate that tey can do things that the other players can’t. Maybe we can compare this kind of gamers with the killer player type of Richard Bartle?
    In my case, I enjoy playing videogames because they distract me and they teach me new things in each new game.
    Thanks and sorry for my English!! πŸ˜€

  12. If you really want to be the alt-right Anita Sarkeesian, it might be a good idea to get an education first. This poor undergraduate and biased analysis at best.

  13. Not sure I understand the reasoning behind their findings or see where I fit into them tbh. I'm neither admiration-seeking (since I'm reclusive and prefer to avoid social interaction as much as possible) nor competitive with other people. So… I dunno.

  14. Being an ex World of Warcraft PvP oriented only player, I met plenty of narcissistic gamers who fit the cookie cutter "rivalry" category. The specific correlates I've noticed were: elitist mentality, devalue of lower skilled players, and projection of anger when you make mistakes. My girlfriend, who was quite possibly one of the top five Mages on my server at the time, became an extreme narcissist as it pertained to PvP and PvE gameplay. She led a raiding guild and a high skill/arena rating team, by which if you could not reach a specific standard, you could not play with her. Being her boyfriend, and quite possibly one of the top ten healers in the PvP environment, I got to play with her. However, I did witness the elitist/narcissist come out of her when I made mistakes particularly if got crowd controlled at a key moment. I tell her "we just got outplayed" and she will get defensive even though my analysis is logically sound.

  15. Why this comparison. Playing games like Mario, Sonic, Zelda, sports games should not make one narcissist ….

  16. The need to chime in or to join the fight
    (weather it be instructive , empathetic , or
    anti-empathetic, or out right combative)
    is the first sign of narcissism (= the need to control an aspect or narrative) .

  17. Do you just look up all this stuff for fun??? Jeez, very interesting and informative. I would have never thought about any of this. Very cool.

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