Taken a selfie today? You may be a narcissist.
Those who adorn their social media profiles by posting excessive selfies to Instagram celebrating their happenings and daily lives might be showing a side unknown to others, as a new study has linked selfie-taking to some forms of narcissism.
Whether it’s a snap from a recent lavish trip abroad or just letting your social following know you went to the gym this morning, the study, published in Computers in Human Behavior, wanted to find the link between selfies and narcissism, which is a personality disorder that can create an inflated sense of self-importance within a person.
The Mayo Clinic described narcissistic traits including receiving excessive attention, having troubled relationships those around, and in general, showing a lack of empathy for others.
“As a developmental researcher, I’m interested in the underlying mechanisms and processes of online behaviors. Can we predict how individuals will act in online environments? Are these predictors linked with individual (personality) or community (e.g., cultural) characteristics?” Christina Shane-Simpson, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, said via PsyPost.
“Furthermore, although there’s a wealth of literature exploring links between personality and social media use, many of these studies focus on ‘general social media use’ or ‘intensity of social media use.’ To combat these overgeneralizations of social media, our research team decided to focus on a specific online behavior that occurs across multiple social media sites – selfies.”
For the study, researchers examined 470 American and 260 Lebanese students where they measured the narcissistic traits via self-posting habits on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The results yield a link to grandiose narcissism, which is described as “extraversion, low neuroticism and overt expressions of feelings of superiority and entitlement,” according to Psychology Today.
Grandiose narcissism is associated with those who feel they deserve special treatment or believe they are above everyone else, which can be seen in the workplace or even in a partner. When broken down geographically, researchers said people located in the northeastern part of the US posed more selfies than others from the midwest and the participants from Lebanon.
“We found that the norms of a cultural community may also impact online behaviors. This second finding is surprising given that online spaces are often described as not bound by offline cultural norms,” Shane-Simpson said.
The research, which was done by Christina Shane-Simpson, Anna M. Schwartz of the Boston College Lynch School, Rudy Abi-Habib, Pia Tohme, and Rita Obeid, does come with some limitations since it’s a new link between narcissism and selfie-taking.
“Due to the scope of our study, we were only scratching the surface of community-based differences in predictive models for online behavior. We desperately need more cross-cultural studies that investigate differences in online behavior and the models that predict online behavior. Research is needed to explore which elements of a geographic community (e.g., collectivism vs. individualism) might be linked with certain online behaviors,” Shane-Simpson said.
She added: “The findings from our study also suggest that personality predictors of online behavior may differ across geographic community, and therefore, we should explore which personality traits are predictive within specific cultural communities.”