Men who post loads of selfies on social media sites like Facebook are more likely to have narcissistic and psychopathic personality traits, according to a new study.
Those who edit the selfies beforehand scored higher than average on measures of narcissism, the study also found.
Narcissists typically think of themselves as smarter and more attractive than others, while those with psychopathic tendencies tend to be more impulsive and display a lack of concern for the feelings of others.
Dr. Jesse Fox, the study’s lead author said:
“It’s not surprising that men who post a lot of selfies and spend more time editing them are more narcissistic, but this is the first time it has actually been confirmed in a study.
The more interesting finding is that they also score higher on this other anti-social personality trait, psychopathy, and are more prone to self-objectification.”
The research, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, doesn’t mean that men who post selfies are necessarily narcissistic psychopaths, but that these traits are higher than average in them (Fox & Rooney, 2015).
For the study, 800 men completed a survey asking about their photo posting habits on social media and had them complete standard questionnaires testing for anti-social personality traits and self-objectification.
While editing selfies before uploading them was linked to narcissism, it wasn’t linked to psychopathy.
Margaret C. Rooney, who co-authored the study, said:
“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,”
Spending more time editing photos was linked to self-objectification: the tendency to place the most value on your appearance instead of other personal qualities.
[Note: it was purely by chance that only men were included in the study — follow-up studies suggest the same is true of women.]
“With the growing use of social networks, everyone is more concerned with their appearance.
That means self-objectification may become a bigger problem for men, as well as for women.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: Dimitris Kalogeropoylos