A recent study by Fox and Rooney (2015)
looked at anti-social personality traits
as predictors of how men behave in respect to ‘selfies’ on social networking sites
Their initial result seems rather ridiculous on the surface – there is actually a link!
But what has taking a picture of yourself got to do with a personality disorder? When you break down what anti-social personality disorders actually involve, it kinda makes a bit more sense…
There’s something called The Dark Triad. Kinda sounds like something that would involve Voldemort, but apparently not. Instead, it’s made up on three anti-social personality disorders.
1. Narcissism involves being egocentric, and dominant. They believe themselves to be greater than those around them.
2. Machiavellianism are strategic, doing only the things they can gain from, and have little morals and regard for others.
3. Psychopathy involves a difficulty understanding morality, lack empathy and usually engage in thrill-seeking activities and often at the cost of others.
Together, the Dark Triad forms an antisocial personality disorder which kind of, respectfully speaking, creates an extremely dominant and successful human being – from the evolutionary perspective, at least.
The study discussed uses this Dark Triad and links it to the societal behaviour, self-objectification, in relation to taking selfies, editing them, and posting them on social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
Narcissism linked the highest out of the three disorders when it came to self-objectification or selfies.
Narcissistic individuals see themselves as better than others and often overestimate their attractiveness – these thoughts unsurprisingly lead to these individuals taking a high amount of selfies and posting them online for others to see
Narcissists also tended to be the individuals who edited the most selfies
Despite believing they were attractive, they would also want the best possible chance of seeming attractive to others, perhaps.
Machiavellianism was not linked to posting selfies.
This is believed to be because these individuals would recognise that the social networking site would not be helpful in them achieving what they want as it would be hard to manipulate others, when they have an online audience to observe what they are doing.
Psychopathy was a predictor for posting selfies.
However, they did not tend to edit these selfies .The researchers believed that by not editing photos, psychopathic individuals would seem natural, impulsive, and reckless. It is believed that reckless behaviour can be deemed attractive, which would benefit psychopathic males when they are trying to get what they want.
Unfortunately, the data was limited to males, despite previous research showing that females use social networking sites more often and more rigorously.
However, these results are only correlations – posting selfies does not make you have a disorder, or vice verse…thank goodness, right?
It kinda makes sense…
People with anti-social personality disorders are, well, anti-social. Therefore, them believing that using social networking sites in order to gain what they want is normal, makes sense. The majority of individuals who do not have anti-social disorders know that if you want something, manipulating individuals online and posting attractive selfies isn’t usually the most professional or, well, socially acceptable way to do it.
Vanity is kinda ‘normal’
I’m not a big believer in the word “normal”, but being vain and enjoying taking selfies is socially constructed nowadays to be the norm – especially with the immense ability to filter out everything you don’t like about your own face (kinda sad when i put it that way, isn’t it?)
However, some individuals do it a lot more than others, and those individuals are just more likely to have the traits measured in this study. That’s all- no need to panic!
3. Therefore, keep calm – you’re probably not a psychopath!
Taking selfies isn’t going to make you run around a hotel with an axe threatening to bash your wife’s brains in (anyone get the film reference?). So, just because your boyfriend posts a selfie every single day, it doesn’t necessarily mean he has the Dark Triad symptoms. However it may mean that he has a narcissistic personality, e.g. is rather vain.
However, if he’s spending all day taking selfies in the mirror then you probably already knew that.
Study discussed: Fox, J., & Rooney, M.C. (2015) The Dark Triad and trait self-objectification as predictors of men’s use and self-presentation behaviours on social networking sites. Personality and Individual Differences, 76, 161-165.