New York: Even though selfies are popular, researchers say that those who post selfies are viewed as less likeable, less successful and more insecure.
Published in the Journal of Research in Personality, the scientists conducted a novel experiment with hundreds of actual Instagram users to determine if there are certain types of self-image posts that cause others to make snap judgements about the user’s personality.
Their work shows that individuals who post a lot of selfies are almost uniformly viewed as less likeable, less successful, more insecure and less open to new experiences than individuals who share a greater number of posed photos taken by someone else.
“Even when two feeds had similar content, such as depictions of achievement or travel, feelings about the person who posted selfies were negative and feelings about the person who posted posies were positive,” said study lead author Chris Barry, professor at Washington State University.
“It shows there are certain visual cues, independent of context, that elicit either a positive or negative response on social media,” Barry said.
For the study, the research team analysed data from two groups of students. The first group, consisting of 30 undergraduates, were asked to complete a personality questionnaire and agreed to let the researchers use their 30 most recent Instagram posts for the experiment.
The second group of students consisted of 119 undergraduates. This group was asked to rate the Instagram profiles of the first group on 13 attributes such as self-absorption, low self-esteem, extraversion and success, using only the images from those profiles.
The research team then analysed the data to determine if there were visual cues in the first group of students’ photos that elicited consistent personality ratings from the second group.
It was also found that the students who posted more posies were viewed as being relatively higher in self-esteem, more adventurous, less lonely, more outgoing, more dependable, more successful and having the potential for being a good friend, while the reverse was true for students with a greater number of selfies on their feed.
Personality ratings for selfies with a physical appearance theme, such as flexing in the mirror, were particularly negative, the researchers found.