What Show Psychologists Look For When Casting ‘The Bachelor’–’90% of the People I See Score High on Narcissism’

It makes sense that reality TV shows like The Bachelor utilize the services of a psychologist. Emotions run incredibly high–that’s kind of the whole point.

Peter Weber and his 'Bachelor' contestants
Peter Weber and his ‘Bachelor’ contestants | ABC/Craig Sjodin

Not only is a psychologist available during filming to help with some of the bigger issues contestants face (like getting eliminated as the runner-up), they’re also heavily involved in the casting process.

Dr. Stein is a clinical psychologist who works with networks to cast shows like The Bachelor.

“Stein, who’s based in Toronto and earned his Ph.D at the University of Ottawa, is an emotional intelligence expert with experience mitigating human crises for people engaged in active combat, counterterrorism and contrived drama. He’s consulted or provided psychological testing for the Canadian Forces, special units of the Pentagon and the FBI Academy (so, no biggie) and, more recently, for dozens of reality TV shows, including Big Brother Canada, the OG SurvivorThe Apprentice and The Bachelor Canada,” reports Flare.

What qualities do psychologists look for when casting ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘The Bachelorette’?

It may seem like networks are trying to assemble the most problematic cast they can. But, according to Stein, it’s actually a very intricate process, casting a reality show.

When professionals like Stein are interviewing potential contestants, they use a series of “scientifically validated tests.” Often, the show’s psychologist will test for emotional intelligence and give an IQ test.

Stein told Flare he’s looking for two things in particular: “One is mental health issues, psychopathology. We want to screen out for anything serious, problems with addiction or anger.”

“The second part looks at actual characteristics, how they’re likely to behave in certain scenarios,” he told the publication.

How reality show contestants are alike and different

Producers are trying to put together a group of people that will be entertaining but not tiresome, memorable but not too in-your-face. It’s a delicate balance. Stein says the reality show casting process is akin to “casting a Broadway play.”  

“Exaggerated characters elicit reactions, even from the cheap seats, with John-Hughes era stereotypes. The jock. The prude. The weirdo. The villain,” writes Flare’s Katie Hewitt.

Though producers attempt to put together a colorful cast of characters, Stein says reality contestants often have one thing in common: “I would say 90% of the people I see score high on narcissism. If you’re shy or introverted, you’re not going to be good on reality TV.”

Read more: Chris Harrison Calls This ‘Bachelor’ Contestant From Peter Weber’s Season ‘A Bad*ss’ And For Good Reason