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Yes, College Students Are Narcissists, but So Were You at That Age

The good, the bad and the ugly things we learned about our bodies today

Kids, right? Always looking at themselves in the mirror, thinking they’re hot shit with their bedazzled cell phones, selfies and total apathy when it comes to anything other than their looks, their Snapchat followers and whatever else is “fire.” When we were in college, we were working two jobs and walking five miles to school. What a bunch of narcissistic little assholes.

Not so fast there, middle-aged guy. If you’re thinking they’re any worse than when you were young, you’d be wrong. In fact, a recent study out of the University of Illinois suggests that narcissism among college students has been on the decline for years.

Ok, so you are right that college kids are narcissists. On the Narcissism Personality Inventory, a test used by the study’s researchers to measure narcissistic tendencies, college students received, on average, a score of almost 16, while grandparents scored a 12 (for reference, celebrities average a little more than 17, so 16 is up there). But can you blame them? Actual adults have got real shit to deal with here — mortgages, careers and, in the case of our looks, gravity.

But the study also compared scores of today’s college students with those of kids in the 1990s and the 2000s, and what was surprising was that narcissism, no matter what the demographic, is down a small, but statistically significant amount over time.

Lead researcher Professor Brent Roberts explains why, as we get older, we’re more likely to think that narcissism is rampant among today’s youth thusly:

“We have faulty memories, so we don’t remember that we were rather self-centered when we were that age.”

So the next time some kid bumps into you on the street as he’s trying to record his latest Instagram story, maybe next time go easy on the little asshole, okay?

A few other things we learned about our bodies today: