People who take selfies regularly ‘overestimate how attractive they are’ - study
Published 20/05/2016 | 15:38
People who take a large number of “selfies” tend to overestimate how good looking and likable they are, a new study has found.
Researchers at the University of Toronto looked at 198 college students, 100 of who reported being regular selfie-takers.
Each participant was asked to take a selfie using a smartphone camera and also had a picture taken by another person.
“Selfie-takers generally overperceived the positive attributes purveyed by their selfies”
Researchers then instructed the participants to rate each photo, determining how attractive and likable they thought their friends would think they were in the photo if it were uploaded to social media.
The pictures were also rated by 178 members of the public, who were asked to determine how attractive and likable and narcissistic they thought the people in the photos were likely to be.
Both the regular selfie-takers and the non-selfie-takers thought they would be seen as more attractive and more likeable in their photos than they were actually seen by the independent raters. However, the selfie-takers overestimated themselves significantly more – and tended to think they looked better in the selfies than in the photos taken by other people.
The regular selfie-takers were also judged as looking “significantly more narcissistic” than the non-selfie-takers.
“Selfie-takers generally overperceived the positive attributes purveyed by their selfies,” said researchers.
“Here, we found that selfie-takers believed their selfies to look more attractive and likable than photos of them taken by other people.
“In reality, though, external raters actually perceived the targets' selfies to look less attractive and less likable than the photos taken by others (as well as more narcissistic).
“This self-favoring bias did not extend to non-selfie-takers.'
“Self-enhancing misperceptions may support selfie-takers’ positive evaluations of their selfies, revealing notable biases in self-perception.”
The study was led by Daniel Re of the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychology, and was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.