The great thing about taking selfies is that you can perfect your pose, facial expression, and timing to take the perfect picture of yourself. That way, you can show the world the most attractive version of yourself. Except not really. What you see is not what the rest of the world sees.
A new study from the University of Toronto shows that selfie-takers greatly overestimate how attractive they are – and people actually view those who post tons of pictures of themselves online as less likeable than other people.
Maybe the whole selfie-taking thing is over? Case in point: When I told my wife about this story, she grinned and said, “Yes! People who post tons of selfies clearly have issues.”
This study, led by U of T’s Daniel Re compared 198 university students, half of whom regularly took selfies, and half who seldom if ever took pictures of themselves. They were all asked to take a selfie as well as be photographed by a researcher and to evaluate how attractive and likeable they thought the resulting photos were.
A further 178 independent observers were asked to review all of the photos and to also rate them for attractiveness, likeability, and narcissism.
Both groups’ (the frequent selfie takers and those less prone to self-portraiture) selfies were rated as less attractive than the photos taken by a third party.
Also the selfie-takers appeared to be “significantly more narcissistic than the non-selfie-takers” according to the independent reviewers of the photos. In fact, the frequent selfie-takers were considered “less attractive, less likable, and more narcissistic in their selfies than in the photos taken by others”.
However, the selfie-takers perceived themselves as being more attractive and likable in their own selfies than in the photos taken by others, while the non-selfie-takers viewed both photos similarly.
So if your Facebook page or Instagram are full of self portraits from your smartphone, you might want to change tactics. You’re not quite creating that beautiful image of yourself that you think you are. It can appear that you are self-obsessed or have no actual friends who could take the picture for you.
(Plus we’re all pretty tired of seeing endless duck-face self-portraits, shirtless beach shots, and bathroom mirror selfies by now.)
Also, there was this guy this week who was killed by the walrus he took a selfie with.
Wondering what’s behind the rise of the selfie as a form of expression? Here is a handy infographic from the good folks over at mybreast.org on the evolution of the self-taken photograph.