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Selfies and personality: a study claims that selfies tell you how you are

Selfies and personality: a study claims that selfies tell you how you are

May 6, 2021

It is not the first time that we talk about selfies in our portal, since this phenomenon is very fashionable. The technological changes of the last decades, the culture of the image and the spectacle in which we live immersed and the emergence of the networks like facebook or instagram they have allowed us to make self-photos at any time and publish them in digital media as soon as possible.

Constant news about selfies appears on television, in newspapers or on the radio, and Several questions and answers have emerged about the obsessive behavior of some people , often without foundation. And although many times this information is not true, it is not surprising that there is an interest from psychology to know more about this type of behavior.


In fact, a recent study claims that selfies say a lot about our personality .

Is there a relationship between taking selfies and having a mental disorder?

First of all, It is necessary to clarify that the habit of taking selfies is not a mental disorder , therefore there is no scientific evidence to affirm it. However, there are certain emotional problems or psychological disorders that can be associated with the excessive use of selfies. For example, low self-esteem, body dysmorphic disorder, narcissism or perfectionist personality.

A narcissistic person is likely to take many selfies and hang them on social networks in search of constant approval. We all know a friend who likes to constantly look in the mirror, and selfies are a quick way to get approval in social networks and to constantly expose their image. A narcissist can take the behavior of selfies to the extreme, to pathological limits.


It could also happen that a perfectionist or body dysmorphic person performs many self-photos and repeats them constantly because it does not look good on any of them. Perfectionists have an obsession with achieving perfection in everything they do, and people with body dysmorphic disorder are never happy with their physical appearance. This can cause them to take hours taking pictures until they achieve that excellent and impeccable image of themselves even if it's unreal.

What is the fashion of selfies?

But as I said, taking selfies does not have to be a serious problem , because it is just another phenomenon associated with new information technologies and the culture of the image. Here the progress of new technologies comes together, for example, the possibility of having a camera on the smartphone, the emergence of social networks and the possibility of being connected all day and awaiting the lives of others. The values ​​of this society, which rewards elements such as aesthetics or entertainment, also play an important role.


These changes produced in the last decades have changed the way we relate, because when we add these factors we are faced with a phenomenon that leads us to the need to relate and project a good image of ourselves throught social media. That is why it is important that we know how to use this technology responsibly; since if we do not do it, we can be on the verge of having problems of obsession or communication with other people: the communication of truth is in the street, in the eyes of the interlocutor.

That said, we can not deny that when someone has a deeper problem, for example a disorder of the body image, the excessive use of selfies and social networks can indicate that something is happening with that person.

"Selfitis" does not exist: a lie that went viral

Selfitis, that is, the pathological obsession for making selfies, and that according to some media were recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA), does not really exist: it is an invented disorder, without a scientific basis. It was a lie that went viral on the internet, and the fact of making selfies can mean absolutely nothing from a clinical point of view .

What happens is that selfies hang on social networks, and the latter are important in shaping the identity of the youngest. So you have to be careful how these behaviors affect adolescents, because this is a critical period of their development. Not taking it into account can have negative effects on your future psychological well-being. In extreme cases, selfies can be an indicator of emotional problems or body image disorders, for example, if people are constantly uploading images of themselves to facebook or if they are all day doing self-photos without stopping.

Parents and schools should be aware of the importance of their children's education in the correct use of social networks

So it is important that parents (and also schools) are concerned about educating their children to use the new technologies correctly, because otherwise Western culture can cause emotional or self-esteem problems.

But let's not dramatize either: that someone occasionally takes a selfie is not bad, it's just another phenomenon , which comes hand in hand with the immersion that we have all done in new technologies.

The best prevention is education

To prevent future emotional problems in young people and to develop a resistant personality that allows them to empower themselves in front of life and value themselves as they are without the need to be constantly showing a digital image that can be harmful for them, the education is the key

Of the disorders associated with new technologies we have already spoken on other occasions since Psychology and Mind , for example, in our articles on FOMO Syndrome or Nomophobia. And we have already warned of the importance of re-educating the youngest in a society that turns us into objects and that can lead to serious problems of self-esteem if we do not connect with ourselves again. That is, if we do not become conscious and emotionally intelligent people again.

It is necessary to educate correctly in the use of new technologies, because they are an important part of the life of the youngest . Through social networks, children and adolescents relate, compare and form their identity.

The world 2.0 transmits values

The 2.0 world can be a fictional but very appealing world, and social networks are attractive because the younger ones become protagonists.

Thanks to selfies, they can be a kind of "star" in their little show world. So, we must know that, as socializing agents that are, social networks also transmit values . It is necessary that parents and teachers make the younger ones understand the positive and negative consequences of its use.

The contribution of psychology to the use of social networks

For the cases in which a person takes selfies compulsively and really there is a disorder in the background, from psychology we propose certain treatments that can help the person to identify the problem and be able to solve it .

These cases are usually characterized by poor self-esteem, a deficit of social skills and a constant need for approval from others. Luckily, psychologists can treat these cases and solve them.

Personality and selfies: narcissistic and antisocial people make greater use of self-photos

Recent investigations they have focused on finding a relationship between personality and self-photos , and it seems that certain personality types are more prone to take selfies, at least according to a study carried out by the Ohio State University (United States) that concludes that individuals who publish more self-photos in their social networks they have narcissistic and antisocial traits.

On the other hand, according to research by the Nanyang Technological University of Singapour and published in Computers in Human Behavior, how to make a selfie can express the personality traits of a person , for example, if she is more or less extroverted, responsible or kind. This study concludes that:

  • Compassionate, cooperative and kind people appear smiling and cheerful in their self-photos.
  • Kind people take selfies from below.
  • Failure to reveal the place of the photo may indicate that the person is concerned about their privacy.
  • "Put chicks" is typical of insecure people, with anxiety and jealousy.
  • The more opening of the photo, the more emotionally positive

To know if they are true and to be more certain of the results of this research, scientists will have to carry out other studies to confirm these conclusions. What is clear is that science begins to look at this phenomenon.


7 Curious Facts Your Appearance Says About You (May 2021).


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