Instagrammers Who Post Lots Of Selfies Are Judged As Less Likeable And More Insecure

Posted on September 17, 2019

Instagram is currently one of the most popular social media platforms today. Users typically post photos, captions included, on their ‘feed’ and follow other users as well to receive updates on the lives of others through these images.

To understand the impression that others have of fellow Instagram users who post many selfies of themselves online, a team of researchers from the Washington State University recruited 29 university students from 18 to 27 years old to participate in the research. These individuals had at least 30 photos on their Instagram accounts. The participants were also asked to fill out questionnaires that assessed their personality traits, such as narcissism, ‘fear of missing out’ and sensation-seeking.

Independent raters were asked to categorise 30 of the most recent photos of every participant under selfie, posie (photo of the participant taken by another individual) or a photo without the participant. The photos were also grouped according to their theme, such as events, affiliation with others or physical appearance.

199 students from another university were then shown sets of 30 images. They were then asked to rate the individual of each set of images based on 13 traits, including success, extraversion, emotionality and loneliness. While this group of students were unable to accurately pinpoint the personality traits of the individuals in the first part of the study, they had judgements which were somewhat accurate about some attributes of the individuals. For example, participants who scored high in “grandiose narcissism” were rated as more self-absorbed by these students.

People who posted more selfies of themselves were mostly described as less likeable, more insecure and less receptive of new experiences. On the other hand, participants who had more posies tended to be evaluated more positively. Selfies associated with physical appearance elicited especially negative responses.

Possible explanations for this include the notion that posies are perceived as more natural and hence represents a more realistic side of the individual. Also, selfies might stand out to others and communicate something different about the individual. However, more studies have to be carried out to come to a conclusion for these findings.

Category(s):Personality problems

Source material from The British Psychological Society Research Digest