Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Nicholas Holtzman


Who talks about themselves most frequently? Recent research has explored the top correlates of self-focused language use. Depression and negative emotionality tend to appear as key positive correlates. Surprisingly, narcissism—which is largely known for its trait of self-centeredness—is not a major correlate of self-focused language use. Studies demonstrating this null effect have only measured grandiose narcissism, while entirely neglecting vulnerable narcissism. By using a survey methodology with carefully-selected trait inventories and a language task, the purpose of this study is to fill the gap in the literature—to see whether vulnerable narcissism accounts for talking about oneself, above and beyond the common correlates of depression and negative emotionality. Our findings from a large number of college students (valid N = 471) indicated that vulnerable narcissism is significantly positively correlated with first-person singular pronoun use; however, it does not predict the outcome above and beyond traditional predictors. Along with establishing this novel correlation, these findings have clear practical implications which will be detailed further in this paper.