Study: People Enjoy Taking Selfies, But Not Seeing Them Online

MUNICH — The surge of selfies in recent years shows just how popular the social media-driven technique is, but a new study reveals out an interesting distinction in how we like them. It turns out that people generally feel good about taking their own selfies, yet most would prefer to see fewer selfies on social media.

A study published in Frontiers in Psychology detailed the results of a survey to 238 people living in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

selfie
A new study finds people like taking selfies, but not viewing them on social media.

Among the questions on the survey, participants were asked to indicate how often they took selfies, received friends’ selfies, along with how they felt about seeing selfies compared to non-selfie photos. They were also tasked to describe their emotional experiences using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule.

Statements about their own selfies in comparison to friends’ selfies were examined:

Judgments on own selfies and others’ selfies was assessed with 10 statements, relating to five different aspects: self-irony (“My/Other peoples’ selfies are often funny or self-ironic”), authenticity (“My/Other peoples’ selfies show my/their true personality”), self-presentation (“I/Other people use selfies as a means for self-presentation”), fun (“I/Other people take selfies because it is fun”), situational variability (“My/Other peoples’ selfies are very different from one situation to another”).

The survey found that 77 percent of the people admitted to posting selfies, but also found that 62 to 67 percent of the people agreed that there are negative consequences in doing so. A whopping 82 percent of the people agreed that they would prefer to see other types of photos over selfies.

The study’s author Sarah Diefenbach a professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany explained why so many took part in the selfie posting to begin with.

“One reason for this might be their fit with widespread self-presentation strategies such as self-promotion and self-disclosure,” she said in a release. “The selfie as a self-advertisement, plying the audience with one’s positive characteristics or the selfie as an act of self-disclosure, sharing a private moment with the rest of the world and hopefully earning sympathy, appear to be key motivators.”

There seems to be a bit of a paradox when it comes to people’s opinions of their own selfies compared to their opinions of other people’s selfies. People tend to rationalize their own reasons for posting selfies and consider them authentic and valid, while at the same time looking at other people’s selfies and view them as coming from a totally inauthentic and self-involved place.

“This may explain how everybody can take selfies without feeling narcissistic. If most people think like this, then it is no wonder that the world is full of selfies,” said Diefenbach.

And full of selfies it is. In 2013 the word “selfie” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and in 2014 there were 93 million selfies taken a day on Android devices alone, according to the release.

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