By definition, narcissists spend a lot of time focused on themselves. So it should be no surprise that the fastest way to tell if someone is a narcissist is simply to ask them. Researchers compared the gold-standard 40-item diagnostic test to one question: "To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist. (Note: The word 'narcissist' means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)" The two are almost identically accurate, with 1% of respondents even describing themselves as a 7 (that the statement is "very true") on a scale of 1 to 7, reports Time.
"Narcissists have no problem admitting they are narcissists," a coauthor on the paper tells the Los Angeles Times. "They think they deserve special treatment and they don’t try to hide that from others." The researchers ultimately conducted 11 studies with more than 2,000 participants, testing for traits associated with narcissism as well, including higher aggression, lower empathy, less committed relationships, a preference for non-social rewards, and the belief that they should be paid more than their colleagues. Not surprisingly, people who characterize themselves as narcissists have more overlap with these traits as well, and also tend to be younger. (Check out which president is considered to be the biggest narcissist of all.)