Others disagree, among them Jeffrey Arnett at Clark University, Worcester. He argues that US college students are hardly representative of young people as a whole and he also doubts whether the Narcissistic Personality Inventory really measures narcissism at all. For instance, the supposedly narcissistic option on the inventory could sometimes actually be a measure of benign, or harmless confidence – he points to examples such as “I am assertive” versus “I wish I were more assertive”.
Citing the fact that the young are more likely to volunteer and more tolerant of diversity, Arnett says his view is directly the opposite of Twenge’s: today’s emerging adults are not only less narcissistic, they’re “an exceptionally generous generation that holds great promise for improving the world”.
In fact, there’s mounting evidence that this might just be the case.