Keith Campbell, professor of psychology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, spoke with Daily Dot about “main character syndrome,” a term on social media describing a confident, self-important person.
Researchers link the trend to behaviors associated with narcissism. Campbell said that narcissists have inflated self-opinion, low empathy and a need for admiration, status or attention, the perfect traits for internet virality.
“Social media seems to attract and benefit narcissists; it doesn’t seem to create them readily,” he said.
Many contemplate the affect that the “main character syndrome” trend has on viewers as the desire for constant perfection online leaves users feeling insignificant in the presence of social media giants.
“I think constantly being online can benefit people who are already narcissistic, but it makes everybody self-conscious, which isn’t quite the same as narcissistic. People know that anything they do can be recorded or filmed and so they always need to be on guard that they don’t do something embarrassing or shameful,” Campbell said.