The Secret Psychological Side To Selfies

By Ben Hamill - September 07 2019
The Secret Psychological Side To Selfies

It’s not what you say that matters most, but how you say it. We know this to be true. Turns out the same logic applies to Instagram posts. Or more specifically, selfies posted on Instagram. A recent study revealed that posting selfies on Instagram reveals much about the photographer. Study participants indicated that instant impressions created by selfies range from perceiving the person in the photo as being insecure, less likeable and even the opposite of a “good friend”.

But the problem isn’t really the existance of the selfie. It does however have everything to do with the fact that the “poser” considered it necessary to post the photo to a public platform. The fact that the owner of the face loves his or her face enough to want to put it out there for all to see is what really gets under people’s skin.  It doesn’t really have much to do with the face or the expression itself.

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Why Posies Are OK

Also interesting to note is that the same doesn’t really apply to “posies”, being photographs snapped by a third party. Even when pics feature exactly the same background, event, activity, etc., study participants experienced selfies in a very different light than what they did posies.

It must be pointed out that the “feelings” elicited by the pics were based on snap judgements. What this means is that the study participants were not asked to provide the reasons behind their expressed impressions of any of the photographs viewed. They were required to vocalise whatever impression any given pic had created to their own minds, nothing more.

The Culture Of It All

With that having been said, there’s no swinging the entire social media platform thing in any direction that completely avoids the issue of purposefully evoking jealousy in the first place. This by its very definition originates from a place of insecurity. The blissfully secure individual generally has no desire to create envy in others.

But by the same logic, posting a selfie does not in and of itself “create” insecurity or unsociable personality traits (read: bad friends). It’s just that the correlation between the type of personality prone to post selfies instead of posies, and insecure attention-seeking traits, is too prominent to ignore.

And really, much like with anything else in life, it’s the intention behind any action that really matters. What people make of it all is really up to them. And if you’re one of those people who can’t really be bothered by other people’s perceptions, knowing full well your own intentions, then perhaps there’s no need to worry about insecurity after all.

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