According to the Mayo Clinic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, also known as NPD, “is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.”
It is currently estimated that up to five percent of the population has NPD, but the exact cause of NPD has remained unknown.
However, experts believe that several contributing factors can lead to the development and progression of NPD– including childhood trauma, genetics, hypersensitivity to stimuli during childhood, and personality and temperament characteristics.
And interestingly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, tons of conspiracies surrounding vaccinations, politics, and social change began sprouting up all over social media.
Researchers over the past two years have found that people with NPD are more susceptible to falling victim to conspiracy theories and wholeheartedly believing them.
Recent research conducted by a trio of researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of Kent, and the Polish Academy of Sciences has also built upon that discovery to ascertain precisely why.
And the researchers have argued that three specific traits of people with NPD– known as neuroticism, antagonism, and agent extraversion– are the culprit.
Neuroticism refers to the tendency to emotionally or irrationally overreact when presented with new information.
Past research has also linked neuroticism to relationship difficulties, low self-esteem, shame, and paranoia.