Narcissists have a prominent place in the popular imagination, and the label “narcissist” is widely deployed to refer to people who appear too full of themselves. There’s also a growing sense that narcissism is on the rise around the world, especially among young people, although most psychological research does not support that notion.
Narcissism is properly viewed on a spectrum. The trait is normally distributed in the population, with most people scoring near the middle, and a few at either extreme. The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), developed by Robert Raskin and Calvin S. Hall in 1979, is the most commonly used measure of the trait. Scores range from 0 to 40, with the average tending to fall in the low to mid-teens. Healthy individuals who score somewhat higher may be perceived as exceedingly charming, especially on the first encounter, but eventually come across as vain. Such individuals may have awkward or stressful personal encounters but still have a fundamentally healthy personality.