An Inconvenient Truth: Taking Selfies Relates to Narcissism
With the growing popularity of image-based social network sites, such as Instagram, “Selfie-ism” has become a global phenomenon. A Korean study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking reveals that narcissism plays an important role in this growing phenomenon. Young adults with higher levels of narcissism take more selfies, are more involved in the feedback (comments & likes) they receive on their selfies and have a higher intention to post a selfie in the future.
- Young adults who score relatively high on narcissism…
- like posting selfies more
- are more likely to post selfies
- are more involved in the comments and likes they receive with their selfie
- check out selfies taken by others more often.
Does narcissism relate to selfie-related behavior, the overall evaluation of selfie-posting behavior and the intention to post selfies in the future?
315 social network sites users aged between 19 and 39 (mean age = 29 years; 70% female); 64% had experience with posting a selfie on Facebook (64%), 53% on KakaoStory, 29% on Instagram and 7% once posted a selfie on Twitter
In May 2015, the young adults filled out an online questionnaire regarding their level of narcissism (e.g., “ I like to look at myself in the mirror”), their involvement in the comments and likes they receive on their selfies (e.g., Other people’s feedback, such as comments and likes to the selfies I post on SNS is important), their opinion about taking selfies (e.g., Taking selfies is important”) and their intention to post selfies (e.g., I plan to post selfies on a regular basis”).
Also, the researchers asked whether the participants observed, commented and liked selfies of others (e.g., Do you carefully examine others’ selfies?).
Facts and findings
- Young adults with a higher level of narcissism:
- Had a more positive attitude towards postings selfies
- Had a higher intention to post selfies in the future
- Were more involved in the feedback (comments and likes) that they received on their selfies
- And observed selfies taken by others more often.
- However, although young adults with a higher level of narcissism observed selfies taken by others more often, they did not give more feedback on other people’s selfies than young adults with a lower level of narcissism.
- Participants indicated to prefer to take selfies at specific contexts and locations (See Figure 1 and 2).
- Critical note. These findings are based on associations and no conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. This means that it can also be the case that young adults who like posting selfies have higher levels of narcissism.