You probably wear really bright colours…and excessive make-up if you are a woman…all your photos on Facebook are immaculate, there is no imperfection…and if there is, you have made sure you covered it with the latest Instagram App… You generally make dramatic appearances AND provocative statements on social media, constantly seeking attention… you LITERALLY buy ‘followers’ and ‘likes’… You are the centre of attention and get frustrated when you are not. You have exaggerated displays of emotion, which sometimes they almost appear as childish tantrums… You may ‘delete’ or ‘un-friend’ contacts when they don’t provide you with the instant gratification you so need.

A friend of mine recently made me aware of the term ‘Attention Whores’, which I had not heard before. I thought it would be related to Narcissism and I did a bit of research, which I wanted to share.

Apparently this personality disorder is a category of its own and it’s called “Histrionic” and belongs, like “Narcissism”, under the “Dramatic / Erratic” cluster of personality disorders (according to the DSM-IV, APA, 2000). According to these definitions, “Histrionic” is characterized by constant attention seeking, grandiose language, provocative dress, exaggerated illnesses, all with the objective to gain attention. This person believes that everyone loves them. They tend to be emotional, lively overly dramatic, enthusiastic and excessively flirtatious with shallow and labile true emotions. They appear as if they are constantly performing on-stage. On the other hand, “Narcissists” are characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, absorbed by fantasies of self and success. They tend to exaggerate their own achievement and assume others will recognize they are superior. They also tend to have good first impressions but poor longer-term relationships and are exploitative of others.

At this point I would also like to point out that personality disorders are quite controversial in terms of classification for various reasons. First, some psychologists argue that they are just extreme values on trait dimensions (such as the Big Five). They share characteristics of major disorders, hence they may just be mild versions of these conditions. Finally, they are not easily diagnosed since we depend mostly on self-reported questionnaires and people do not admit to those. Researchers have used ‘peer nomination measures’ to solve this problem, i.e. reports by others who know the person.

In very general terms, a common feature of personality disorders is a failure to consider other people’s perspectives. They tend to blame everybody else but themselves for their difficulties and justify their actions as perfectly normal to an extent they really believe this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s