Can selfie tell your underlying personality?

Can selfie tell your underlying personality?

Sujan Shrestha

Human psyche is always evolving and changing. The dynamic nature of the personality makes the study and determination of the personality of person difficult. Personality is not only what is shown or manifested outside. The things which are in our unconscious and hidden inside are also the important components of personality. Sometimes we show the behaviour that is actually not us. So the observable behaviours do not necessarily sum up our personality. In today’s world it’s increasingly getting difficult to observe the behaviours of the people since facebook , twitter , instagram and like have come into the mix of personality of a person. A social network has become a new tool for psychologists to learn more about human behaviours. Hence many researches are happening in this regard.  In the world of social networking, one term ‘selfie’ has attracted a considerable attention. It has become a smashing hit and common trendz with the people. Selfie has become a global phenomenon. Once in a while everyone has taken a selfie in their life time in this century because of the wide accessibility and advancement of technology.

“Selfie” became so phenomenal that in the quick span of time Oxford Dictionary acknowledged the term in 2013 and defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.” It undoubtedly has pulled a lot of attention of psychologists. In 2014, APA (American Psychiatric Association) has classified obsessive selfie taking as “selfie disorder”. The interesting question can be what is the relation between selfie and personality of a person? Can it be anyway related to an aspect of personality?


Recently a research done by Ohio State University researchers found that men who posted more online photos of themselves than others scored higher on measures of narcissism and psychopathy. In addition, men who were more likely to edit their selfies before posting scored higher in narcissim and self-objectification.

This research clearly indicates the personality trait of over indulgence of selfie takers. If someone is obsessed with selfie, then it might be the reason that the person is narcissistic who have the feeling of superiority over others and wants constant attention and appreciation from others. And another indication could be the person is self-objectifying which points out to the tendency to view one’s body as an object based on its sexual worth. It is a very worrying condition because it can lead to depression and eating disorders. Another indication is quiet surprising as heavy selfie takers scored higher on antisocial personality trait and psychopathy which implies the person has lack of empathy and very impulsive. Those scored higher on psychopathy although indulged excessively on selfie taking but not on editing before posting. The research was mainly done on men or male samples and the scientist believes the finding more or less can be applied to female as well and the follow up study is being conducted.

Apparently the thoughtless act of posting selfies might sound a point of not much concern but selfies can tell your personality on the basis of its usage and its frequency. But it should not be considered that the selfie taking act alone itself is wrong. Actually its normal and it has posed the way of self-presentation. But the excessive indulgence can be the symptoms of above mentioned disorders. Checking facebook and instagram profile of a person can give a pretty good sense and knowledge about a person to a psychologist. It has become a remarkable tool to analyse the person’s behaviour but on the same time has posed an added challenge of dealing with new disorders as well .

After going through the article you might be little bit of suspicious of having above mentioned disorders but I ask you not to freak out because its fun to take selfies. But if its affecting your self concept and self esteem and it’s the first thing you do after you wake up and the last thing before you sleep then you might want to visit psychiatrist or psychologist.




(The writer is a psychology student and the founder and chief-editor of the blog psychbigyaan)

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