Posting too many pictures to social media can turn you into a narcissist, new research reveals.
People posting pictures heavily to social media became 25% more narcissistic in the four months of the study.
The increase pushed many across the cut-off for having a narcissistic personality disorder.
However, those posting mostly text to social media, such as Twitter, did not see a rise in narcissism.
There has been much debate about whether social media can increase narcissism, explained Professor Phil Reed, who led the study:
“There have been suggestions of links between narcissism and the use of visual postings on social media, such as Facebook, but, until this study, it was not known if narcissists use this form of social media more, or whether using such platforms is associated with the subsequent growth in narcissism.
The results of this study suggest that both occur, but show that posting selfies can increase narcissism.”
The study followed 74 people aged 18 to 34 for four months.
Their social media use was tracked, along with narcissistic personality traits.
People used social media for an average of three hours per day, although some used it for up to 8 hours per day.
Professor Reed said:
“Taking our sample as representative of the population, which there is no reason to doubt, this means that about 20% of people may be at risk of developing such narcissistic traits associated with their excessive visual social media use.
That the predominant usage of social media for the participants was visual, mainly through Facebook, suggests the growth of this personality problem could be seen increasingly more often, unless we recognise the dangers in this form of communication.”
Professor Roberto Truzoli. study co-author, said:
“The use of visual social media may emphasise the perception of narcissistic individuals that they are the main focus of attention.
The lack of immediate ‘direct’ social censure, may offer them the opportunity to inflict aspects of their narcissistic personality, present themselves in a grandiose manner, and realise fantasies of omnipotence.”
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
The study was published in The Open Psychology Journal (Reed et al., 2018).