We all know that selfies have become ultra, mega popular and everyone takes them. However, according to some scientists there could be a link between selfies and some mental disorders, like narcissism.
However, before we get into the science of things, we have to admit that we too were a bit skeptical when we first read the study’s results. Their claims seemed outlandish at first, but when you put aside your own preferences, it has to be noted that the proclamations appear interesting to say the least.
The study examined the act of self-objectification in relation with the ‘Dark Triad’ (narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy). These three disorders are called the dark triad because they’re usually associated with manipulative and evil personality traits. As it turned out, selfies did indeed prove to be connected with these three.
It can be said without a doubt that society puts a great accent on how we look, it’s so emphasized that it’s no wonder so many people struggle with self-confidence issues. So it’s not so strange to assume that taking selfies can indeed lead to mental disorders. Below we’ll talk a bit more about the study and what the scientists discovered in their research into selfies.
The Dark Triad Explained
Before we go into the study, how it was conducted and what it discovered, we must first define the three components of the dark triad.
Narcissism is defined as an extraordinary fascination and obsession with oneself, vanity and extreme self-love.
Machiavellianism is manifested through dishonesty, cunningness and subtle or unscrupulous deception.
Psychopathy is defined as an antisocial and amoral behavior in a person. Someone who exhibits psychopathic traits lacks the ability to show affection or feel love, can’t establish personal relationships, never learns from past mistakes and is extremely egocentric.
How science connects selfies with narcissism and other mental disorders
The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual differences where it was explained how it was conducted.
The scientists conducted an online nationwide survey on subjects from the US age 18-40, males, and assessed their trait predictors on social networks. They also examined how often the subjects edited their own photos they posted on social media as well as how often they posted selfies.
The study involved more than 1000 subjects surveyed and the final sample that was analyzed consisted of 800 men who had an average age of 29. The subjects were asked 12 questions, or statements, and were asked to evaluate if they agree or disagree with them using the 5point Likert scale (5 strongly agree – 1 strongly disagree).
There were 4 statements who were consistent with a narcissistic personality disorders, 4 consistent with psychopathic disorder and 4 statements consistent with Machiavellianism. The answers were averaged with the help of established analysis benchmarks.
The results were analyzed and the researchers were able to come to some interesting conclusions. They concluded that there can be a link between inclination towards dark triad personality traits and self-objectification in social media. Narcissism and psychopathy were the most connected to the number of selfies the subjects posted on social media, while just narcissism was connected to edited selfies posted on social media sites.
Finally, the scientists agreed that men who self-objectify themselves spend more time on the social media sites compared to those who don’t. Persons with narcissistic inclinations reported to spend more time on social media as well. The subjects who showed psychopathic and narcissistic inclinations were found to post selfies more often on social media. And finally, narcissists posted the most edited selfies on social media sites and most frequently.
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