TORONTO – A recent study suggests men who regularly post selfies on social media are more likely to be narcissistic and have psychopathic tendencies.
“Selfies aren’t necessarily 100 per cent of the time going to tell you that someone has these dark personality traits,” said Jesse Fox, Assistant Professor at the School of Communication at Ohio State University. “If someone’s posting a lot of selfies, you should kind of pause, scratch your head, and maybe think of that as a warning sign, and see if there’s other evidence, whether or not they’re showing other narcissistic behaviours, or if they’re showing other elements of psychopathy.”
The study was published in the Journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Ohio State University conducted the online survey. They asked 800 men between 18 and 40 years old about their selfie habits, including how many photos they were taking on a weekly basis and how many selfies they were posting to social media.
“What we saw was an association between higher levels of narcissism, and higher levels of psychopathy, and those individuals posting more selfies on social media,” said Fox.
Psychotherapist Kimberly Moffit said selfies are healthy in moderation.
“When someone takes a lot of selfies and they need that external validation, it’s just a sign of inner insecurity and the need for external approval,” said Moffit.
So does this mean we are becoming more narcissistic? Or are we just finding more ways of expressing our narcissism?
“Vanity and narcissism has always existed in society,” said Moffit. “But I think with the rise of selfies, it gives people who have those qualities in them an outlet.”
Celebrities like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian are notorious for posting selfies. Ellen DeGeneres’s picture from the 2014 Oscar’s was widely circulated on social media.
“You have to feed your own publishing empire,” said marketing expert Tony Chapman. Chapman said the selfie is not just ego-based, it is about creating your personal brand.
“Selfies are very easy content to publish. I don’t need a partner in crime, I don’t even need to put a word to type out. I just put my picture out,” said Chapman.
The study only looked at the tendencies in men and researchers are currently looking at the habits of women.