In the case of narcissism, the answer is yes.
Researchers have published an article in PLOS ONE Journal, indicating a new test for a narcissist. The test consists of a single question asked of the participant.
The answer to the question is a viable indicator of the actual presence of narcissism.
The test itself is coined as the SINS test. SINS stands for Single Item Narcissism Scale. This simple scale was developed by researchers to streamline the screening process for narcissist evaluations.
Co-authors of the study, Sara Konrath, of Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Brad Bushman, Professor of Communication and Psychology at Ohio State University, explain how the results of the SINS test provide meaningful insight into whether or not a person is narcissistic.
The following question is presented to the participant:
To what extent do you agree with this statement: “I am a narcissist.”
A true narcissist will be inclined to agree with this statement.
Narcissists may believe that narcissism is comparable to a personal sense of superiority. If a person honestly believes they are superior to others, they will have no concerns about stating it. In fact, it’s often a source of pride for the narcissist to hold such a label.
While the SINS test in no way replaces in-depth analysis to determine a personality disorder, the research showed many advantages to administering the question. Primarily, the nature of the question is uncomplicated and allows for a quick response.
This is beneficial to researchers who find that longer questions, which can take about 13 minutes to respond to, cause participants to lose focus or lose interest in completing the evaluation.
But is it a valid test to determine a narcissist?
To determine the validity of the SINS test, researchers conducted a series of 11 different experiments with 2200 people in all age categories. The results showed that individuals who agreed with the SINS test statement were indeed narcissistic, after comparing the SINS test to other assessment scales, such as the NPI (Narcissistic Personality Inventory).
The SINS test may not be appropriate for all situations, but it does enable quick diagnosis and directional support for administering further testing in a potential patient.
A narcissist is primarily concerned with themselves. They show little empathy and have little natural desire to help others or even improve themselves. This behavior is damaging for the narcissist and those around them.
A word of caution
Be careful if you pose this question to people in your life. There is a chance, of course, that a non-narcissist might answer yes. Any casual conclusions you come to should be tempered with lots of supporting evidence.
In my view, narcissists suffer with a deeply hidden attachment to rejection. The difficulty is that the attachment is so buried that the narcissist may never even experience it directly. Nevertheless, they unwittingly invite negative views of themselves by virtue of their extreme self-centeredness.
In turn, they combat the rejection, dismissal and rolling eyes of those around them by investing further in the narcissism. Essentially, the narcissism acts as a massive defense mechanism against the wellspring of pain and rejection that brews beneath the surface. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.
Overcoming narcissism, in my experience, is possible. It requires a long and often painful process of personal growth and development, something that narcissistic individuals typically are not interested in, unfortunately.