Stumbling along Facebook, where millennials get a concerning amount of there information, I came across an article titled “Scientists Link Selfies To Narcissism, Addiction & Mental Illness” Curious, I read the about the findings and although the argument seemed to have little substantial support, (only one specific boy in the U.K having obsession over the “perfect selfie” and almost committing suicide over it) I could see very well how selfies contribute to what seems like a lack of confidence and over obsession of image in today’s youth.
Streamlining my question, I more so wonder if millennials are more narcissistic or if millennials just now have a means of showcasing this human behavior?
I also wanted to connect this to the “Wormy Kids are Stupid” methodology. In class, we learned that there were three different ways of viewing the kids in relation to school performance scenario.
- Kids got worms → making them stupid
- The kids that were already uninterested in school → played outside → higher chance of worms
- Outside variables lead to kids getting worms, a “z” factor
Even though the Wormy kid theory has been tested and proven, I still found parallels to compare the two situations. Both deal with the question of nature vs. nurture. Where kids stupid from birth, then situations lead them to have more qualities hindering them? Or was the nurture (worms) causing them to be stupid? Similar, are humans born being narcissistic or does society (nurture) shape that narcissism? Lastly, is an outside force affecting each situation?
- Humans are already self centered → now have means of expressing self centeredness via the selfie
- The selfie was the cause → of humans being more self centered
- An outside variable affected the increase of self awareness in photos
Upon further research, I found a telling article from BBC News, on why we take selfies. James Klinder, a neuroscientist coming from University College London dives into this question. He brings up a good point that in comparison to the amount of time we process other people’s facial expressions, we see ours at a fraction of that. There is a “lack of visual knowledge”. Klinder brings up a study that when people have 3 photos of themselves (one digitally altered to be more attractive, the original, and one digitally altered to be unattractive) the subject will pick the more attractive photo. This study was conducted by Nicholas Epley and this article goes further into explaining his study. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/you-are-less-beautiful-than-you-think/
Looking at the history of being self centered, I found this article from “Brain Picking” gave a lesson the history of the mirror, the idea of what Susan Sontag calls “aesthetic consumerism”, and the impact of self reflection today. It showed the timeline of when humans started to look at there own reflection (around 1500) and how this catapulted the Renaissance.
Taking a quote from Susan Sontag, she says “Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted.” We see this addiction on social media, waiting with bated breath for a like, comment, or some hint of social approval. Sontag suggests that the image/photography has developed over time, simply becomes part of the narrative behind human society. She says that “the photographic image is a control mechanism we exert upon the world”.
Reading up, I can not say for certain what caused this wave of seemed self obsession in millennials, but, I put more of the blame on this generation’s access to constantly checking their own appearance and quick ability to gain approval.