Most people, myself included, are guilty of taking a selfie at one time or another. Some people take one with a group of friends while others will find the perfect lighting and sit for hours taking hundreds to pick out the perfect one. Selfies are becoming so popular that iPhones even have a separate folder in the photo app reserved just for the beloved selfies and there are special contraptions called selfie sticks in order to take even better selfies. Once people have the perfect selfie, it is time to edit it and post it on every possible social media site. While this seems like a harmless way to pass time, studies are showing this may lead to character traits that you may not want attached to your name.
Ohio State University recently conducted a study in which they surveyed around 800 men ages 18 to 40 to find out their selfie taking habits. What they found is a little scary. Men who take more selfies are more likely linked to having narcissistic and or psychopathic tendencies. Jesse Fox who was one of the lead researchers noted that this is not surprising but now what everyone was already thinking has been confirmed. It is important to note that this does not mean that every guy who takes selfies is narcissistic or psychopathic, but they may score above the average on those tests. Fox also asked the men if they edit their selfies before posting them. The results showed that men who do edit their photos are linked more to narcissism but not psychopathy which makes sense because psychopathy has to do with impulsivity. If someone is impulsively posting selfies, they probably won’t take the time to edit them. Overall, Fox came to the conclusion that the way we present ourselves online is impacted by our personality. Like we were talking about in class, correlation does not equal causation. Just because men who take lots of selfies are more likely to be have traces of narcissism and psychopathy does not mean that taking selfies is what caused that. It might even be a reverse causation: narcissistic and psychopathic traits are already in their personality and that causes them to take more selfies. I find it really interesting that this study was done on men and not women though they are working on running the same research on women. It will be interesting to see how those results compare and contrast.
Now that we know what taking selfies tells about our personality, let’s dig into why we like taking selfies, other than they are just really fun to take! People are very well versed at studying other people’s facial features and facial expressions but when it comes to their own faces, have a lot of trouble. We can look in the mirror all we want but if we saw ourselves in public, we might not be able to recognize our own selves! This is crazy because of all the time our society spends in the mirror, you’d think we’d know our own faces pretty well by now. One study was done in which they asked people to choose the original photograph of themselves out of several that had been altered to make them appear both more and less attractive. People had a lot of trouble picking the real photograph. What we think we look like in our head is completely different than what we actually look like. Therefore, the beauty of selfies is that we can take lots of them until we think we have one that looks like what we think we look.
Like most things in life, selfies should be taken and posted in moderation. I am all for a good selfie to give us a little confident boost. I truly believe that we need to love ourselves before we can love others. If posting a selfie every now and then helps you to feel good about yourself, then I say go for it! However, if you post a selfie a day, maybe lay low for a little while and see if your personality or attitude changes. It can’t hurt to try!