Does Television Cultivate Narcissism? Relationships Between Television Exposure, Preferences for Specific Genres, and Subclinical Narcissism

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Abstract

A survey of 565 college students was conducted to examine the hypothesis that daily TV exposure is associated with scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), as well as to answer the research question whether preferences for various TV genres are associated with narcissism. Additionally, effect testing was used to replicate meta-analytic evidence that narcissism has increased over time. Participants reported their daily TV exposure, preferences for specific TV genres (e.g., drama, sports), and completed the NPI. Daily TV exposure was positively associated with narcissism. Preferences for reality TV, sports, suspense/thriller/horror shows, and political talk shows were positively associated with narcissism. Preference for news was negatively associated with narcissism. Effect testing revealed that narcissism in college students has continued to increase over time. Results are interpreted according to cultivation theory, which suggests that TV is an aspect of culture that may be responsible for cultivating greater narcissism in college students.

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