Vindication is yours! If you've been demanding that your friends put down the selfie stick and stop posting every goddamn photo of themselves online because it's probably a sign of severe mental illness, you've finally got some research to back all of that up. It appears that people who post lots of selfies score higher on measures of narcissism (bad) and psychopathy (more bad).
The good news is that scoring higher on these categories doesn't mean one will absolutely start violating social norms ASAP, but it does mean that taking and posting all those photos of yourself out on Thirsty Thursday might mean that you're more self-centered and prone to self-objectification, which can lead to issues such as depression and eating disorders. And just to be clear, this study focused on the selfie-taking, editing and posting habits of the modern american male, which lead researcher Jesse Fox of Ohio State University says is something people often "don't think men do." Edit selfies? Uh, yeah. I know this is anecdotal, but most dudes I'm friend with won't even let me tag them on Facebook unless they've approved the photo and cropped it to their liking.
Fox, who teaches communications, is doing follow-up work to see if the same principles apply to women who take and post selfies, but is quick to point out that this study is only the beginning and that while the sample size (over 800 men) is good, more research needs to be done to determine whether there is a strong correlation between selfies, narcissism and psychopathy.
From OSU News:
Fox emphasized that the results don't mean that men who post a lot of selfies are necessarily narcissists or psychopaths. The men in the study all scored within the normal range of behavior – but with higher than average levels of these anti-social traits.
Results showed that posting more photos was related to narcissism and psychopathy, but psychopathy was not related to editing photos.
"That makes sense because psychopathy is characterized by impulsivity. They are going to snap the photos and put them online right away. They want to see themselves. They don't want to spend time editing," she said.
Fox will continue conducting more research, but you should probably tuck her study, published in Personality and Individual Differences into your favorites list and pull it out every time one of your (male friends, for now) pulls out their phone to take yet another photo of themselves looking really good in a purple shirt or editing out a blemish before posting their face to Instagram.
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