*Unlocks cellular device*
*Turns the camera facing self*
*Happily ever after*
Ah, yes, the art of selfie taking. Considering that everyone and their mother is aware of this decade’s “selfie movement”, I’m sure you followed my take on the sequential actions that result in a selfie. Everyone has taken one at least once in their life (if not on a regular basis). Don’t lie. We know you have. However, you may have been stumped by the final asterisks: “Happily ever after”. Sure, taking selfies is fun, especially with friends, but happily ever after is a little extreme, no? I chose to use those words because they imply happiness as a hard end point, or a response variable that matters to us. Why? Because interestingly enough, I came across an article that claims that studies show that selfies cause happiness in persistent selfie-takers. So… let’s find out… will regularly taking selfies make us happier as individuals??
- Selfies → Happiness (direct causality)….what is thought to be happening
- Selfies ← Happiness (reverse causality)….. Cannot be ruled out in this case because being happy could very well make someone want to take a selfie
- Selfies ← Z → Happiness (confounding/3rd variable)… anything that could cause selfie taking and happiness ….. Z= confidence, compliments, makeup, etc.
- Chance…. Always can be a possibility
According to computer scientists at the University of California, if one takes at least a single selfie per day, they will experience more positive feelings and emotions. An author at the university, Yu Chen, led a randomized control experiment where she and her colleagues set up an app that 41 participating college students recorded their emotions in three times a day. They also set up another app where they would document daily photographs. The participants were split up into 3 groups based off of what they are supposed to photograph: smiling selfie, something that would make someone else smile, and something that makes themself smile. Conclusively, the moods of the different categorized participants wound up all being positive throughout the trial. So what this is saying is that, yes, selfies do spark happiness, but apparently happiness is not limited to just selfies in the photographic realm. Each type of photograph brought on different kinds of happiness:
Smiling selfies→ confidence & self-security
Making someone else smile → stress relief & calmness
Makes self smile → grateful & eye-opening
How I feel:
It turned out that just positive images in general come with positive emotions.The claim in the headline is that studies link selfies and happiness, but it left out a very important detail: the type of selfie. Personally, I think this study would be a lot more interesting and informational if it stuck to the specific of selfies. I would change the hypothesis to: If you take a SMILING selfie of yourself everyday, your positivity will increase. If I could conduct this differently I would take 50 males/females total and randomly sort them into two groups. The control group would take a smiling selfie every hour on the hour from 10 AM to 9 PM for 3 weeks and record their current mood in the app. The experimental group would take a frowning selfie and document the same times/way that the control group did. I feel like this would give a more clear answer as to if regularly capturing positive selfies causes positive emotions.
Also, I feel as if this experiment left so much room for error. There are tons of things that could alter the mood of a person and there is no way to manage factoring in ALL of the possible interruptions. Anything from good/bad weather outside to a good/bad grade on a test can significantly sway someone’s emotional status in either direction. This experiment did provide evidence that persistent happy selfies made people happier, but the vagueness of the study made it hard to find a clean cut mechanism behind the apparent causation. If it’s true that taking a lot of smiley selfies makes you happy, is there parallelism with frowning selfies? If I take a sad selfie everyday will I get sadder???
Smile for the camera:
Seems to me that engaging in daily “selfie-ing” is totally worth the shot…just don’t forget to smile! But if you’re having a bad hair day or you’re broken out and just not feeling yourself, HAVE NO FEAR!! Evidence showed that there is a correlation between positive images and positive feelings, not just positive selfies. If puppies make you happy, photograph a puppy. If your friend likes cupcakes, send her a picture of a cupcake! And if you look good and you know it….selfie away!