Sure, we're all guilty of snapping a self-indulgent selfie every now and then. But, a new study suggests that, for men at least, posting a ton of selfies could be a red flag for some troubling character traits.
The study, recently published online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, investigated the link between men's personality traits and how men present themselves on social media. The Ohio State researchers focused particularly on selfie-taking habits in relation to men's functional levels of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. These three personality traits are collectively referred to as the "Dark Triad," a term that sounds straight out of Game of Thrones.
The researchers surveyed 800 men ages 18 to 40, taken from a nationally-representative sample. The survey included questions about the men's personalities such as how attractive they considered themselves, their desire for others to pay attention to them, how concerned they were with morality, and whether or not they tended to manipulate people. Participants were also asked about their social media use, how often they posted pictures, and the degree to which they edited their photos before posting them.
Survey results showed that higher levels of self-objectification (valuing oneself mostly based on appearance) and narcissism correlated with greater amounts of time spent on social networking sites. Digging deeper still, investigators found that men who were more narcissistic and psychopathic were also more likely to post selfies frequently. Researchers also discovered that men prone to self-objectification and narcissism edited those photos the most. It's important to note, though, that the levels of narcissism and psychopathy assessed here were "subclinical," meaning those traits were present, but not at levels that qualify as full-blown disorders.
The study suggests that men who post a lot of selfies are more likely to think higher of themselves and be less empathetic, a key aspect of psychopathy (another study showed similar findings with regard to Facebook statuses). But, as previous research has shown, narcissists tend to do pretty well dating-wise, because they're often charming and generally likable. Well, at first, anyways. The same is often true of those with somewhat psychopathic personalities, too.
So, you've got another reason to think twice about a guy whose selfie habit is clogging up your social media feeds. But, don't worry: Yours still look great.