Men who post more selfies on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram may exhibit anti-social traits like narcissism and psychopathy, a new study has claimed.
The study shows 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 narcissism and self-objectification, which measures how much they prioritise their appearance.
“It’s not surprising that men who post a lot of selfies and spend more time editing them are more narcissistic, but this is the first time it has actually been confirmed in a study,” said Jesse Fox, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.
“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,” said Fox.
Fox, who conducted the study with Margaret Rooney, a graduate student at Ohio State, emphasised that the results don’t mean that men who post a lot of selfies are necessarily narcissists or psychopaths.
The men in the study all scored within the normal range of behaviour – but with higher than average levels of these anti-social traits.
Narcissism is marked by a belief that you’re smarter, more attractive and better than others, but with some underlying insecurity.
Psychopathy involves a lack of empathy and regard for others and a tendency towards impulsive behaviour.
The sample included 800 men from age 18 to 40 who completed an online survey asking about their photo posting behaviour on social media.
The participants also completed standard questionnaires for anti-social behaviours and for self-objectification.
In addition to asking how often they posted photos, the survey enquired about whether the men edited their photos before posting, including cropping photos, using filters and using picture-editing software.
“Most people don’t think that men even do that sort of thing, but they definitely do,” Fox said.
Results showed that posting more photos was related to narcissism and psychopathy, but psychopathy was not related to editing photos.
“That makes sense because psychopathy is characterised by impulsivity. They are going to snap the photos and put them online right away.
They want to see themselves. They don’t want to spend time editing,” she said.
Editing photos was also related to higher levels of self-objectification, which has been rarely studied in heterosexual men, Fox said.
The finding was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.