By Markham Heid
John Hancock must have been an egomaniac. Large signatures are common among narcissists, finds new research from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the University of Maryland.
The study examined the signatures of more than 600 CEOs and found that the most outsized signers were among the highest paid, but were also more likely to run their companies into the ground. Those factors indicate an inflated sense of self, a disregard for people’s input, and other narcissistic tendencies, explains study author Dr Nicholas Seybert, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland.
Past research shows large signatures reveal high self-esteem and social dominance among the general public.
Why? People see a signature as a stand-in for themselves, and a bigger, more prominent moniker reveals a person’s larger-than-average self-regard, the research explains.
If you have a big autograph, you’re not necessarily a narcissist—though you probably are an alpha male, Seybert says. But when applied to CEOs—a group already likely to favour people with inflated egos—big signatures are also likely to reveal narcissistic traits.
Here are more strange clues into your personality.
Feb 15, 2013