Selfies Being Tied to Narcissism – Blaine Pollock

A recent new study, is showing a heavy relationship between selfie-posting, photo-editing and personality.

The study was designed to determine whether people who post selfies are psychopathic and narcissistic, or self-objectifying, or both?

Plenty of talk has been circling about selfies in the media.  Psychologists are learning to know about the effects of selfies or about the people who post them. It was also added to Oxford’s dictionary.  In fact, the word selfie was recently added to Oxford’s dictionary.  But psychologists know little about the effects of selfies or about the people who post them.  The latest study appearing in the issue called Personality and Individual Differences observed the relationship between selfie-posting and photo-ed.

In this study, the researchers examined self-objectification, along with three traits, known as the “Dark Triad”: Narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. They’re called “dark” because they have an evil connotation and are associated with a callous and manipulative way of interacting with other people.  Narcissists have an extreme need to be admired by others and have a sense of entitlement. They tend to think that they are more capable than most people.

Psychopathy:  Impulsivity and lack of empathy.   People high in psychopathy are likely to agree with statements like “Payback needs to be quick and nasty”.

Machiavellianism:  Being manipulative without regard for others’ needs.  Those that are high on this trait tend to have little concern about morals.

Self-objectification:  There is a tendency to view your body as an object based on its sexual worth. Those high in self-objectification tend to see themselves in terms of their physical appearance and base their self-worth on their appearance.

A research study used a sample of 1000 men between 18-40 years old.  Participants completed personality questionnaires assessing the dark triad and self-objectification. Participants completed personality questionnaires evaluating the dark triad and self-objectification. They were asked how many selfies they had taken and posted on social media in the last week, as well as how many photos they had posted and how much time they spent on social media sites. They were also asked to rate how frequently they used various methods to make themselves look better in pictures, such as cropping, filtering, and re-touching.

Results showed that both narcissism and self-objectification were connected with spending more time on social networking sites, and with more photo-editing.  Posting various selfies was related to both higher narcissism and psychopathy, controlling for the overall number of other types of photos posted.  Machiavellianism was unrelated to photo behavior.

This study suggests that narcissists are more likely to show off with selfies and make a further effort to look their best in these photos. Interestingly, psychopathic men posted more selfies, but didn’t edit them more than their less psychopathic counterparts.

But these results also show that men who view their bodies as objects are more likely to revise their photos.  Self-objectification tends to be correlated with low self-esteem, quite the opposite of narcissism which is associated with high self-esteem.  But this is consistent with other findings that both narcissism and low self-esteem are related to higher Facebook use.

But before you start accusing all your selfie-posting Facebook friends of being self-obsessed narcissists and psychopaths, recognize that these correlations while statistically significant, were relatively small, and the sample studied didn’t include women.

Author: Blaine Pollock

TRPN Founder Blaine Pollock is the creative force behind WorldNewsMD/Depression.net.  Mr. Pollock has dedicated his life to providing global healthcare services and education.

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