SDSU professor to speak on the rise of American narcissism

April 24, 2012

By Brigitte Graf ‘13

Dr. Jean Twenge, a psychology professor from San Diego State University, will be the keynote speaker for the psychology department’s Honors Research Colloquium on Tuesday, April 24.

The author of three books and numerous academic papers, Dr. Twenge will speak at 7:30 p.m. in the Michel Student Center ballroom on the rise of narcissism in American culture, particularly its affect on today’s generation of college students. Her research was also discussed in a recent issue of Time Magazine.

Dr. Twenge “has done some really interesting research focusing on college students,” said Dr. Anthony Hermann, a psychology professor at Bradley. “Over the past 30 years, she’s looked at a particular questionnaire called the narcissism personality inventory. What she’s documented is that college students are more likely to endorse stigmas that are more self-centered.”

These stigmas will be the focus of her speech, titled “The Narcissism Epidemic and its Implications for Education and the Workplace.” Before Dr. Twenge takes the stage, poster presentations of various research projects completed by Bradley’s junior and senior psychology students will be displayed at 7 p.m. Admission to the colloquium is free and open to the public.

“There has been some really exciting research done by our students who are on their way to great careers in the field of psychology,” Dr. Hermann said. “For Dr. Twenge’s talk, [attendees] can expect it to be interesting, funny, enlightening and a good example of how psychological science can help us understand ourselves better.”

The Daniel J. Elias Endowment Fund is sponsoring Dr. Twenge’s visit. Established by the parents of Daniel J. Elias in honor of their late son who was a psychology student at Bradley, the fund encourages student research and supports venues where that research can be prominently featured.

“The goals of the foundation are to promote scholarship and psychological science among college students,” said Dr. Hermann. “The [psychology] department’s goals are the same; the two really merge well together. We were looking for a high-quality speaker who would be able to widen interest.”