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Research Finds Men Who Love Taking Selfies Display Higher Psychopathic Tendencies

Research Finds Men Who Love Taking Selfies Display Higher Psychopathic Tendencies

Ah, the humble selfie. One of the most divisive inventions of social media, and yet something virtually everyone with a Facebook account or a smartphone camera has indulged in. While many think of it as a pure form of self-expression and a way of boosting self-esteem and self-image, new research has potentially revealed that men who indulge in selfies on a regular basis may be much more likely to score higher on the psychopath rating scale.

In research conducted by a team at the Ohio State University, they found that men who reported a higher rate of selfie-taking and sharing were more likely to have higher than average psychopathic tendencies, while the act of self-moderating and editing said selfies is related to higher rates of narcissism and self-objectification, which in turn can lead to much higher rates of self-harm and body dysmorphia.

Fortunately, while being addicted to taking a selfie isn’t ideal, it doesn’t actually lead to the psychopathic tendencies — it’s simply correlated with them, meaning that you won’t start to develop more elements of psychopathic behaviour with every selfie you take.

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In addition, these fluctuations occurred in what is considered to be a “normal” range of psychopathic tendencies within men, so we’re certainly not expecting an upsurge in Patrick Bateman wannabes in the Tinder and Instagram-friendly crowd.

The leader of the research group, Jesse Fox, had this to say about her study:

“We know that self-objectification leads to a lot of terrible things, like depression and eating disorders in women… With the growing use of social networks, everyone is more concerned with their appearance. That means self-objectification may become a bigger problem for men.”

Fox is currently looking into the effects of modern social media on the personalities of women, in a companion study to her and her team’s recently unveiled research.

Interestingly enough, the two “problems” associated with selfie-taking outlined in the Ohio State University’s research has pointedly divided in their treatment of how they view and treat photographs.

People with higher psychopathic tendencies were much more likely to post their pictures directly to their social media channel of choice, as psychopathy is generally considered to have a much higher correlation with impulsivity and on-the-fly decision-making in line with a psychopath’s lack of empathy.

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Self-objectifiers, on the other hand, spent a significant amount of time analysing, curating, and extensively editing each of their photos in their online presence so as to best show off their best side, angle, and overall appearance within the photograph — symptoms which have a high correlation with lower self-esteem and perfectionist tendencies.

When speaking to the Telegraph, Fox expanded on the study’s results:

“Psychopathy is characterised by impulsivity,” she added. “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.”

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She added, “We know that self-objectification leads to a lot of terrible things, like depression and eating disorders in women.”

“With the growing use of social networks, everyone is more concerned with their appearance. That means self-objectification may become a bigger problem for men, as well as for women.”

However, self-objectification is on the rise amongst both men and women, and anything that raises the likelihood of this happening is far from good for your self-esteem and mental health. Our culture already thrives on telling people that our ideals should be airbrushed to within an inch of their lives, and that if their lives don’t exactly match up to the impossibly high standards of society, we’re failing somehow and should strive even harder to do so, even if doing so strains our psychologically wellbeing.

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Our advice and the advice of others in the field? Maybe start curating your social media preference a bit when it comes to the humble selfie. How about limiting the selfies to maybe once a day if not once a week? It’s advice we’ll be taking on board.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

Formal education is something everyone has to go through to a certain degree, and the knowledge it offers isn’t always that practical in real life. Life long learning is how you improve as a person, bit by bit and day by day.

Life long learners recognize the importance and joy of growth so they never settle for what they currently know and always seek for improvement.

Here are 12 habits of people who value lifelong learning have in common – see how many of them you recognize in yourself.

1. They Read on a Daily Basis

Whatever problem or dilemma you currently face, there’s definitely at least one decent book that discusses it and presents a variety of solutions.

Reading is a great way to open up new horizons, train your brain and revolutionize your life. I can’t even count how many times books completely transformed the way I view the world, and it’s always a change for the better. Through reading, you can connect with successful people and learn from the lessons they share.

Life long learners love to get lost in books and do it regularly. Bill Gates knows that reading matters a lot; on his personal blog, he reviews plenty of game-changing books.

Due to technology, you can access a bookshelf of the wealthiest entrepreneur on this planet.

2. They Attend Various Courses

Whether it’s online or offline, there are countless courses you can participate in without spending a dime on it. These are great opportunities to connect with clever and like-minded people and learn from them.

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Because of the advanced technology, you can now gain knowledge from online programs, starting from coding through self-improvement to programs from top universities.

There are literally endless ways to thrive. What life long learners have in common is squeezing as much as possible out of these opportunities.

3. They Actively Seek Opportunities to Grow

Instead of spending your free time laying on the couch and watching TV, you prefer doing something creative and practical. You know every wasted minute is gone forever.

That’s why you’d rather practice your language skills with a native-speaker you’ve met, engage in local meet up or attend a class that teaches something you always wanted to learn.

Life long learners stay up-to-date with growth opportunities in their areas and participate in them frequently.

4. They Take Care of Their Bodies

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F. Kennedy

A clever mind combined with a body in a great condition is the best asset you can have. Our bodies were designed to run, walk, jump, swim, lift and much more. Leading a sedentary lifestyle harms both your physical and mental sphere.

Life long learners know the body is your temple. In order to make it flourish for as long as possible, they train regularly, move a lot and eat healthy.

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5. They Have Diverse Passions

Among Steve Jobs’ wise quotes, there’s one I like especially. It’s about connecting the dots:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

Each dot is some event or skill in your life, and it’s only when you go through these elements that you know how to combine them into something great.

Having a variety of passions indicates that you love to progress. By practicing different skills, you give yourself an advantage over the rest of the people. During hard times, you are more likely to to act intelligently and solve your problems with less effort.

6. They Love Making Progress

If behind the efforts, there is passion and a deep desire to grow, your chances of success are way higher, compared to when you are forced to learn.

Life long learners love to experience the constant growth and improvement. The breakthrough moments help them to notice the impressive change that took place because of the learning process. Any milestone serves as a driving force for further headway.

7. They Challenge Themselves with Specific Goals

In order to keep growing, you clearly define your goals. Smart goal setting is one of the tools to ensure constant growth.

Since you love challenges, a difficult goal doesn’t scare you. Quite the opposite, it keeps you motivated and engaged.

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Research showed that precise and ambitious goals increase the performance of an individual. As we already agreed, life long learners are people who care about their performance, hence they never stop improving.

8. They Embrace Change

A complete change can lead to incredible results. This is especially visible on the example of successful companies.

Oftentimes, it’s that transformation which created space for their so-called overnight success. Twitter was originally created as an internal service to serve Odeo employees. Currently, it has over 300 million monthly active users and is considered the second biggest social network.

As a life long learner, you know a change can lead to extraordinary results so you welcome it and stay open minded about making a shift.

9. They Believe It’s Never Too Late to Start Something

Some people tend to think after a certain age, they are no longer allowed to start something and become successful. The truth is, it’s just a lame excuse not to leave the comfort zone.

Opposite to common misconceptions, there’s no wrong age to begin something. Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Ford Model T car, which is considered as the first affordable automobile.

Sure, for some domains like becoming a professional athlete, starting early is required. However, to learn and improve for its own sake, you are never too old.

10. Their Attitude to Getting Better Is Contagious

“We now accept the fact that learning is a life long process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” — Peter Drucker

There’s nothing better than to see your surroundings getting involved in what you actively participate in. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve that is to inspire them and be the example. As Gandhi would say, you need to be the change you want to see in the world.

As a life long learner, you are extremely passionate about the constant growth and people around you can sense that positive attitude. As a result, they start acting similarly.

11. They Leave Their Comfort Zone

Is it really better to step out of your comfort zone? The answer is always yes.

You always embrace discomfort as you know the path to success leads through hardship and countless obstacles. Instead of being afraid of facing them, you challenge yourself to overcome more and more difficult handicaps.

Every time you get out of your comfort zone, regardless whether you win or fail, you learn something new. That’s the part you love the most!

12. They Never Settle Down

“Knowledge is exploding, so you need to commit yourself to a plan for life long learning.” — Don Tapscott

A sense of being clever enough is something you don’t experience. Without a doubt, you appreciate what you already know, but that’s never a reason to stop. You just know once you stop learning, you lose the amazing privilege humans have, namely an ability to a never-ending intellectual development.

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Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com

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