The difference between selfishness and self-centeredness.

There are a huge number of people in the world who put their own interests above the opinions of others. This behavior is called selfishness and is considered a completely normal manifestation of human nature. Psychologists single out another concept associated with the rise of one's own person. We are talking about egocentrism, which is often seen as an expression of the extreme degree of selfishness. But are these terms really that close in meaning? Let's try to figure out how egoism differs from egocentrism.



Selfishness - selfishness, preference for personal interests over public ones. This behavior is completely determined by thoughts of self-interest. The term was coined by the French materialists in the 18th century. They came up with the theory of "reasonable egoism", arguing that the basis of any virtue is a correctly recognized self-interest. Kant, on the other hand, regarded this quality as "radically evil." The word itself comes from the Latin "ego", which means "I". With the beginning of the Enlightenment, the concept in question began to be considered a kind of engine of progress and a sign of the awakening of human activity. And indeed, if the ancient people did not care about their comfort, would they learn to sew clothes from skins, make dishes, light a fire? In modern society, this term is evaluated from a different position. It refers to behavior aimed at deriving benefit for oneself at the expense of others. It borders on dishonesty and an insult to someone else's dignity.


Egocentrism - the perception of one's own position as the only existing one. Acts as a feature of thinking inherent in children up to the age of 8-12 years. Sometimes it can persist in adults, gradually progressing over the years. This concept was introduced into psychology by the Swiss philosopher Jean Piaget. He conducted a series of experiments that clearly demonstrate children's egocentrism. Based on the results, it was noted that the child simply cannot put himself in someone else's place, he is focused only on his feelings and experiences. It is worth noting that, contrary to popular belief, egocentrism is not at all a form of egoism. But meanwhile, it is quite capable of serving as the basis for the emergence of conflicts based on the inability of the individual to distinguish between the needs of others.


To differentiate the considered phenomena, it is necessary to delve into their nature. As mentioned above, selfishness is nothing more than a huge love for one's own person and the desire to act only in their own interests. A person is aware of the existence of other points of view on one issue, but deliberately does not take them into account. Selfishness is a personality trait that begins to make itself felt in early childhood and accompanies the individual throughout life. Despite its negative connotation, this phenomenon acts as a kind of engine of progress. It makes a person act, invent, create, invent, go forward to achieve his own benefit. Modern psychologists consider healthy selfishness, combined with decency and good upbringing, to be a very useful quality. There is an opinion that it is passed on to the child by inheritance at the genetic level.

The main difference between egoism and egocentrism is that the latter is not a personality trait, but a feature of thinking. Such a person not only does not take into account someone else's opinion, but simply does not know about its existence. He sincerely considers his point of view to be the only one and does not even think that it could be otherwise. In the view of an egocentric, the world revolves around him and for him. Moreover, a person does not at all seek to put himself on a pedestal, he really feels that way. An individual with such a thinking is completely immersed in himself and does not feel other people. As mentioned above, this behavior is typical for children up to the age of 8-12. In adults, it is much less common. Egocentrism has no positive connotation. He makes a person close in his little world, preventing communication with others. Typical self-centered people are introverts with abstract thinking. Their gaze is directed exclusively inward.

To summarize, what is the difference between egoism and egocentrism.


Egoism Egocentrism
Personality traitThe peculiarity of thinking
It manifests itself in great love for oneself and the desire to act only in one's own interestsCharacterized by the feeling of being the center Universe
A person knows about the existence of other points of view, but deliberately does not take them into accountAn individual considers his point of view to be the only one and does not even think about what may be otherwise
This quality accompanies people throughout lifeIt is typical for children, usually disappears by the age of 8-12
Its manifestations are found in every person, regardless of ageMuch less often present in adults
It is considered a very useful quality that prompts the individual to actionNot has a positive under text, makes a person close only on himself