The BPS Research Digest takes a look at the value of narcissism in creativity. I take all this sort of research with a pinch of salt, two pinches since coming across the WEIRD perspective on psychological research.
But I still found this interesting. They measured the degree of narcissism of particpants in some creative activities. They claim to find that
..narcissists on their own aren’t any more creative than usual even though they think they are. The narcissist’s braggadocio also leads others to overestimate the originality of their ideas.
And this rings very true for me as a recovering adman:
The implication seems to be that the braggadocio of the narcissists rather than the true quality of their ideas, led evaluators to rate their pitches more highly. The researchers said that this finding should be alarming for people who work in fields that lack objective measures of the quality of ideas. ‘In such fields, creative output may gradually decline as true creative talent is continuously traded for charisma and enthusiasm,’ they warned.
Very long term readers may understand why I laughed out loud at this.
There is a small flip side, apparently.
On the other hand, Goncalo’s team show that when it comes to group creativity, the competitiveness of multiple narcissists really is beneficial, so long as you don’t have too many of them.
Hat tip: This tweet from Jan Kovitch