Arrogant Artists

British researchers ran an experiment to gauge the creativity of certain personality types and found that narcissism drives people to take on more creative endeavors:

The participants, a mix of undergraduates and college graduates, took a series of tests to measure the “big five” personality factors: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. In addition, they provided a self-assessment of their creativity (answering questions like “how innovative do you consider yourself?”), and indicated how many creative activities (out of a list of 34) they had engaged in during the past year. Those activities including “composed a poem” and “choreographed a dance.” …

When the scores were added up, “Narcissism self” was the variable that most strongly predicted not only self-assessed creativity (no surprise there), but also engagement in creative activities.

Jillian Steinhauer underlines that narcissists weren’t proven necessarily more creative, only more likely to try their hand at the arts:

In the end, people with narcissistic tendencies were not only more likely to say they were creative; they also were more likely to do creative things. The personality traits of extraversion and openness also corresponded to increased creative activity, which is telling about what this study really shows: that self-confidence goes a long way. If you believe you’re good enough at something, chances are you’ll do it, even if it’s unstable or difficult, as so many creative pursuits are. And chances are you’ll continue trying to do it even in the face of rejection, which is also required in creative fields like art and writing.