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Science Says Selfie-Loving Dudes Exhibit More Psychopathic Traits

A touch of scientifically-proven psychopath just got added to your blatant cry for social media validation.

Model River Viiperi on that casual lounge selfie. Dude knows his angles. Photo courtesy @riverviiperi

Ah, the selfie. The entity tends to illicit a range of emotions and reactions—disdain, jealousy, lust, apathy, self-loathing, fascination, and so forth—often times a conflicting mix of them brewing altogether in our bellies when yet another pops up on any of our feeds. Chances are most of us have at least attempted one in our smartphone-addicted lifespan, whether or not that snap made the cut for public (or private) consumption and subsequent judgement, but, whether we partake or not, the fact is that we are a culture enamored of ourselves. Not that this is a new development by any means, but the social media revolution has certainly perpetuated it, cataloged most noticeably in the inescapable, endless trail of selfies.


So, beyond the blatant cry for validation, what more does your selfie say about you? According to a recent study from researchers at Ohio State University, for men, if your social media sharing display a proclivity for selfies, you’re more likely to showcase psychopathic traits.

The findings, published in Personality and Individual Differences, examined online surveys from 1,000 men ranging from 18 to 40 years old assessing their social networking site use and two specific forms of “visual self-presentation”—editing a photograph of themselves to share and, of course, posting selfies. Explaining the results using an ominously named “Dark Triad” trio of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy, researchers concluded that the more men post pictures of themselves on these sites, the more apt they were to score highly on psychopath tests. The more time overall they spent on these sites, the higher they ranked in self-objectification and narcissism. And the number of selfies posted was linked to levels of narcissism and psychopathy, while narcissism and self-objectification predicted how often men would edit their pictures before sending it live.

“It’s not surprising that men who post a lot of selfies and spend more time editing them are narcissistic, but it is the first time it has actually been confirmed in a study,” lead researcher Jesse Fox said to Ohio State University’s news site. “The more interesting finding is that they also score higher on this other anti-social personality trait, psychopathy, and are more prone to self-objectification.”

Don’t think we’re off the hook here, women. In follow up tests with females, Fox and her team are encountering similar results, although self-objectification tends to be much more prevalent for women. (Again, not surprising.)

So the next time you find yourself wondering To selfie or not to selfie?, remember that no inspirational, Tumblr-biting caption spouting gratitudes of #blessed or Monday morning #riseandgrind encouragements will mask your flagrant self-indulgence. But, if you’re going to do it, at least do it like a goddamn pro.

What we want to know next is: What do our shelfies say about us?

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