- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 7, 2015

You know that guy who is always posting a new photo of himself?

Well, you can stop rolling your eyes. Research says he is likely to be more self-absorbed and concerned about his appearance.

Men who post frequent “selfies” on social media score higher on measures of narcissism and psychopathy, says a new study published online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Moreover, using photo-editing tools is associated with higher measures of narcissism and self-objectification, which means someone values their appearance more than other traits.

“It’s not surprising that men who post a lot of selfies and spend more time editing them are more narcissistic, but this is the first time it has actually been confirmed in a study,” said Jesse Fox, assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

She said only men were included in the new study because she did not have comparable data for women. However, she is working on a similar study on women.

The study sample included 800 men, aged 18 to 40, who completed an online survey asking about their recent photo-posting behavior on places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.

They were also asked if they used filters or editing tools to crop their “selfies” to make themselves “look better” before posting them.

The men then answered a standard questionnaire about psychological views and behaviors.

All the men scored within the normal range of behaviors, Ms. Fox said.

However, the men who posted more photos than other men scored higher on measures of narcissism and antisocial traits known as psychopathy.

More frequent editing of photos of oneself was also linked to higher levels of narcissism and self-objectification, described as valuing one’s appearance over other positive traits. Narcissists “perceive themselves as smarter, more attractive and better than others, but are still marked by insecurity,” said the study.

“With the growing use of social networks, everyone is more concerned with their appearance,” said Ms. Fox, who regularly studies new media and social interactions.

However, there may be a self-reinforcing cycle in which people post more “selfies,” receive more feedback from friends online, and then post even more photos of themselves.

“It may make people objectify themselves even more,” Ms. Fox said, adding “we are running a study on that now.”

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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