Pertaining to American books:
Books Increasingly Show It’s All About Me
Researchers who have scanned books published over the past 50 years report an increasing use of words and phrases that reflect an ethos of self-absorption and self-satisfaction.
“Language in American books has become increasingly focused on the self and uniqueness in the decades since 1960,” a research team led by San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge writes in the online journal PLoS One.
Their results are consistent with those of a 2011 study which found that lyrics of best-selling pop songs have grown increasingly narcissistic since 1980. Twenge’s study encompasses a longer period of time—1960 through 2008—and a much larger set of data.
Interestingly, among the 20 individualistic words the researchers searched for, those that experienced the largest increase in usage were “identity,” “personalized,” “self,” “standout” and “unique.”
What’s more, they point out that throughout the time period they studied, “communal words and phrases were more commonly used than the individualistic words and phrases.” So there’s some evidence that our culture hasn’t turned completely narcissistic—yet.
And in Facebook, I encounter a culture of anti-sharing. I witness people copying and pasting links again instead of clicking on the Share button so as to not attribute to, perhaps, the lesser source. I guess they just want to be known as having discovered something themselves.
By the way, I use a lot of ‘I’ in my posts. You may think it is a sign of narcissism, but really, it’s just loneliness.