How to Identify a Narcissist: Check the Eyebrows [research study]

Even people who are not narcissists may be fascinated by narcissists. This newly published study directs everyone’s attention to the eyebrows:

Eyebrows Cue Grandiose Narcissism,” Miranda Giacomin and Nicholas O. Rule [pictured here], Journal of Personality, epub 2018. (Thanks to Minna Lyons for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Toronto, explain:

Though initially charming and inviting, narcissists often engage in negative interpersonal behaviors…. Here, we investigated which facial features underlie perceptions of grandiose narcissism and how they convey that information.

Method and Results: In Study 1, we explored the face’s features using a variety of manipulations, ultimately finding that accurate judgments of grandiose narcissism particularly depend on a person’s eyebrows. In Studies 2A-2C, we identified eyebrow distinctiveness (e.g., thickness, density) as the primary characteristic supporting these judgments. Finally, we confirmed the eyebrows’ importance in Studies 3A and 3B by measuring how much perceptions of narcissism changed when swapping narcissists’ and non-narcissists’ eyebrows between faces.

Conclusions: Together, these data show that distinctive eyebrows reveal narcissists’ personality to others, providing a basic understanding of the mechanism through which people can identify narcissistic personality traits with potential application to daily life.”

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