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Vain people have poorer visual memories than those who aren’t so self-obsessed, study suggests 


Struggle to recall faces? Your big ego could be to blame! Vain people have poorer visual memories than those who aren’t so self-obsessed, study suggests

  • Vain people ‘don’t remember faces’ because of way they focus on themselves
  •  More tests showed narcissism led to poorer visual memory of houses and cars
  • And scientists found the narcissists tended to look at themselves more on Zoom


Vain people with big egos and a sense of entitlement have poorer visual memories, a study suggests.

They may struggle to remember faces and objects because of the way they focus on themselves, researchers said.

In the study, 1,435 participants were tested for levels of the ‘grandiose narcissism’ personality trait which involves pronounced self-focus, egotism, vanity, a sense of entitlement and a tendency to disregard the needs of others.

Vain people with big egos and a sense of entitlement have poorer visual memories, a study suggests. A stock image is used above [File photo]

In the first of six experiments, participants were briefly shown pictures of 40 men before being given other tasks to complete. 

They were then shown these photos again as well as another 40 in random order and asked whether they had seen each face before. Those who were more narcissistic tended to perform worse than their more modest peers.

Further tests showed narcissism also led to poorer visual memory of common objects, houses and cars which showed it was not just social stimuli, such as faces, they struggled to remember. 

They may struggle to remember faces and objects because of the way they focus on themselves, researchers said. A stock image is used above [File photo]

They may struggle to remember faces and objects because of the way they focus on themselves, researchers said. A stock image is used above [File photo]

And during an online lecture where participants could see their own face – similar to a Zoom conference call – scientists found the narcissists tended to look at themselves in the webcam more compared to the non-narcissists. When asked about the lecture content afterwards, they remembered less.

‘Devoting attention to oneself may inhibit noticing, recognising or remembering what is happening elsewhere, leaving narcissists particularly prone to miss, and subsequently fail to remember, events occurring around them,’ said the researchers from MacEwan University and the University of Toronto in Canada.

The study was published in the Journal of Personality.

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