Anatomy of motivated self-importance: too much of me just isn’t enough (guest post)

Too much of me just isn’t enough: an anatomy of motivated inflation of self-importance.

A controversial recent study has shown that prominent climate sceptics are six times more likely to show narcissistic characteristics than the rest of the community. The tendency is highest amongst those who maintain their own blogs, and especially those with blogs carrying their own names.

Said researcher, “At first I was blown away by this result…, I mean, when you get people responding to surveys and their collective answers are such strong outliers, you question whether you have made a mistake.”

But it seems that careful rechecking of the results has only confirmed the analysis.

“Those that run anti-science climate ‘sceptic’ blogs are simply much, much more into themselves than pretty much anyone else we have ever studied. And by ever, I mean in the entire literature up until this point”.

Respondents scored highly on metrics such as;

  1. How often they refer to themselves.
  2. How eager they were for others to share their high opinion of themselves.
  3. The high negative rating they gave to being personally ignored.

The results pretty much show that the need for ‘reinforcement of self’ is almost constant in this group; it is likely that they run their blogs as a self-validation exercise.

“Failure to have their ‘followers’ reinforce their sense of importance likely leads to an impotent rage. As psychologists, we can only say this seems unhealthy.”

But one blogger is incensed at the results and claims that they are not worth the paper they are written on. Australian blogger Nova Cane (an alias) believes the results are invalid because she wasn’t surveyed.

“How can any conclusion be drawn from a survey about climate sceptic bloggers being narcissistic when that survey does not take in me? It beggars belief that I could have been overlooked for this survey. Its clear what warmists are up to, they want to paint us as self-obsessed nutters, and they must underestimate our collective intelligence if they think we would fall for that trap”

The researchers themselves reveal that, while Nova was originally overlooked due to a simple oversight — “…ironically, we had never heard of her” — inspection of her blog provided reason for caution on her participation in the survey.

“We were initially worried about sample sizes, and hence questioned whether the inclusion of McIntyre and Watts might, by themselves, skew the results toward findings of overt self-obsession. When we saw Nova’s chin-down-eyes-up self-portrait on her blog (entitled, as it happens NovaCane), we wondered whether we could ever get a sample size large enough to accommodate her.”

“She is basically an outlier, even amongst this group of arch narcissists, we felt we would have had to throw her results away to be honest.”

The researchers do believe that there might be promise in developing a narcissistic index based on Nova Cane.

“Since it is doubtful we would find a subject more into themselves than Nova, we thought we might usefully scale future responses against that.”

We believe most people would fit on a scale of narcissism that ranked from 1-10 Novas. The scale is exponential, so we have coined 10 Novas as the ‘Super Nova’ rating for egocentricity. Psychologists can be corny at times.”

But the sceptics aren’t done with yet, with Nova herself firing the warning shots.

“If they thought our attempts at amateur climate science were the end of things, then they are mistaken. We will attempt amateur psychology as well, and then, well, who knows?”

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26 thoughts on “Anatomy of motivated self-importance: too much of me just isn’t enough (guest post)

  1. Barry Woods says:

    oops – missed out the link to a current JohnHalladay comment: (very concerned about the Arctic)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/18200682

  2. Barry Woods says:

    Liam: Most of the environmental groups hated the 10:10 video as well – ie ‘what were you thinking’ comments

    An example from the Guardian (that ‘scooped’ the video)

    John Halliday:
    “God knows I’m on your side but this just panders to the morons who think we’re ‘Eco-fascists’ – own goal, guys.
    Kill it and do something better.
    Disturbing!”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/30/10-10-no-pressure-film?commentpage=3#comment-7838007

    He had to come back and say more a few mins later:(turns out to be a board memeber of FoE) (my asterisks for swearing) – see link, for very next comment)

    JohnHalliday:

    “Actually, I have to say something stronger,
    this film is ******* ridiculous.
    I am a local Greenpeace coordinator, and a Board member of Friends of the Earth and I just can’t believe that you have produced a film that is so ******* stupid.
    There, I’ve sworn on the Guardian.
    Jesus, where is your common sense. We’re trying to win hearts and minds.
    This is just ludicrous.”

    seems to be a Guardain regular and a passionately commited environmentalist
    one of his current comments below:

  3. zooba says:

    Jo Nova doesn’t have a ‘best of’ page compiled by herself.

    • john byatt says:

      Yes she does. Jo’s favorites, same same

      this one from mike though is certainly one of the best

      Nova and Evans seem to believe that the current powers-that-be are intent on using fiat money to exert political control over the global population and have been working towards this end for centuries. As noted, fiat money is a particular obsession of “New World Order” fantasists who believe a shadowy cabal are trying to create a one world government through the UN, IPCC and international treaties.

      This is truly the “paranoid style of politics”.

      It clearly explains Nova’s rabid hatred of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which in her eyes is nothing more than a massive scam to create “false wealth” and yet another lever of power to be used by “them”.

  4. Liam mcglinchey says:

    So, I read the paper above.
    If this is intended as a parody, it might be better to flag it as such. The Deniers are going to make serious hay out of this. Remember the 10:10 campaign?

    • Steven Sullivan says:

      “The Deniers are going to make a serious /hash/ of this. ”

      Fixed.

      • Liam McGlinchey says:

        Really?
        Have you noticed a sense of humour is a common charecteristic of deniers?

      • john byatt says:

        Liam, humour is a well known human way of dealing with fear,

        most of the humour of the deniers is infantile and based on some strawman fallacy.
        schoolyard stuff , does it make you laugh?

      • Liam mcglinchey says:

        With Deniers, I usually don’t know whether to laugh or cry. However, I usually think it a bad idea to give them any ammunition, as they are quite good at creating scandal where none exists. They 10:10 video, clearly a joke, was turned against climate activists, and was counter-productive.
        Now, maybe I missed something, but when I read the study that the above post links to, I didn’t see any reference to measuring personality variables.
        So I assume the above post is a parody.
        In which case, I don’t expect the Deniers to just laugh it off.

      • john byatt says:

        LIAM you can ask question here, has about four posts up on the paper

        http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/lewandowskyScammers1.html

      • john byatt says:

        You call it parody, count whats his name is a well known IPCC expert reviewer

      • Liam mcglinchey says:

        Like I said, maybe I missed something, but when I read the paper, I didn’t see any reference to measuring personality variables, eg narcissism.

      • Liam mcglinchey says:

        The paper looked at how climate change denialism was predicted by the acceptance of other conspiracy theories.
        I didn’t see any reference to measuring narcissism by frequency of self reference in blog posts, or any other metric.
        That made me think the above was meant as a parody.
        Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see any references to measuring narcissism on shapingtomorrow’sworld either.

      • john byatt says:

        Take a look at some of the comments here (denial depot ) Liam, this ones been going for years and many still do not recognise that it is a parody site, same as climatescum and friends of gin and tonic

        http://denialdepot.blogspot.com.au/

        point being that the deniers do not even mention those sites

      • Liam mcglinchey says:

        But I don’t think this is a parody site.
        A parody post on a non-parody site will be spun as a smear, a lie, a distortion of the science, which is what they accuse warmists and climate scientists of doing all the time. They will point to this as further evidence of the mendacity of ‘warmists’.
        Everyone knew 10:10 was a joke; but it suited Deniers to pretend it wasn’t, and act outraged.

  5. ilovecsvfiles says:

    Could you release the data set so that I can do my own analysis please? I have an Excel spreadsheet ready to conduct just this type of investigation.

    Let me guess, you are keeping it secret? Perhaps I will have to file an FOI? Loosers.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      We have lost the data I’m afraid. Shredded the servers it was sitting on just to be sure. We will never release the date ;)

  6. How can anyone with their head so far up their arse claim to be watching anything?

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Someone is now watching “Watching the deniers”? But who watchers the watchers, who watches those watchers? And watchers those watchers? The watchmen?

      Watching the watching watchers...

  7. Tony Duncan says:

    Michael,
    Didn’t WTD just make it clear that totally offtopic comments were not acceptable? or was that another site?

    • Joel says:

      I dunno, Tony – Michael’s willingness to provide another example of crank magnetism in the denial community is rather topical.

      • To answer…

        Tony is correct – I was clear. I’ve caught the comment and snipped so see above.

        Also:

        - I’ve allowed robust debate onm WtD, but monitoring much more carefully and about to publish guidelines to settle the issue for all in the “About” section
        - There is a utility in allowing cranks to post: they do the research leg work for me :)

  8. Very interesting. Where is the study and its data posted for general reading? I’m assuming they they used blog writers from the opposite side as controls of course.

    [SNIPPED FOR RELEVANCE - 1 of 3 warnings, stay on topic, Mike @ WtD]

  9. john byatt says:

    wonder how many watts equals one super nova ?

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