Science Says: Selfies May Be Linked To Narcissism

Society has evolved to place an unreasonably large value on physical appearance, and we’re all voluntarily feeding into this obsession we’ve so comfortably inherited.

One of the banes of modern society and the love-child of technology and self-obsession is the selfie. It started out as an innocent way to capture one’s own portrait and has now become the topic of heated debate the world over. And now after years of study and research on the topic, scientists have found a link between selfies and narcissism.

A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, said,“online survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. men aged 18-40 assessed trait predictors of social networking use as well as two forms of visual self-presentation: editing one’s image in photographs posted on social networking sites (SNSs) and posting ‘selfies’, or pictures users take of themselves.”

The study also examined how frequently one posts selfies and compared it to a tendency of self-objectification. The study states that “sociocultural forces (that) promote the sexual objectification of people such that they are depersonalized and judged as objects with solely sexual worth. Objectification theory posits that when one is subjected to a culture valuing the exhibition of sexual allure, some individuals will attribute more value to themselves based predominately on their appearance.”

In a survey conducted as part of the study, participants around the average age of 29 were told to evaluate themselves based on 12 statements. These included statements like “I tend to want others to pay attention to me”, “I tend to not be too concerned with the morality of my actions”, “I tend to manipulate others to get my way”, and so on.

After analyzing the results the researchers came to the following conclusions:

  • There was a correlation between self-objectification and narcism and the amount of time spent on social media.
  • One’s number of selfies strongly associated with the number of selfies one posted on social media.
  • There was a stronger presence of narcissism and self-objectification in those with edited selfies on social media.

The conclusion of the analysis as per the study stated, “Men who self-objectify spent more time on SNSs than those lower in self-objectification…more narcissistic individuals reported spending more time on SNSs. Those higher in narcissism and psychopathy reported posting selfies more frequently. Narcissists and individuals high in self-objectification more frequently edited photos of themselves that they posted on SNS.”

Even though the study was conducted on an all-male group of participants, based on previous studies it was concluded that women exhibit fewer narcissistic characteristics. However, their level of self-objectification was far more.



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