Obsessive Selfie Takers Show Psychopathic Tendencies

Life in the 21st Century demands a high degree of patience, tolerance and understanding when it comes to social media.

I assure you I am not overstating it. Here is a for instance. How about all of those inane posts people think they have the God given right to share on Facebook? You know the ones I’m talking about. Every time someone exercises a bodily function they post it on Facebook. They stub their toe and they share it on, you guessed it, Facebook.

Now, I’m not against Facebook. Well, that is not strictly true. I have a few issues with Facebook but I’ll save my personal grievance for another time.

It just seems that every new example of Social Media sharing, morphs into yet another excuse for people to talk about ‘me’ as if we all haven’t heard enough of ‘me.’ By ‘me’, of course, I’m talking about the universal ‘me’. I’m talking about the people who need to stop and think before writing yet another stupid Facebook post about something inconsequential. Social media has made us self obsessed.

The latest trend that everyone seems to be getting terribly excited about is a piece of social media self obsession called Instagram. Maybe Instagram isn’t new and has been around for a while and I just didn’t notice. What do you expect? I’m old.

Facebook and Instagram have become the two main repositories for something that deserves zero tolerance. And that is people who take ‘selfies’, or pictures of themselves. Glorified narcissism I call it. And here is an excellent reason, if we needed one, to put a stop to selfies.

A new study published in the journal of Personality and Individuals says that men who take a lot of selfies score much higher on tests looking for signs of psychopathy. In other words there is a link between taking selfies and being a psychopath. Doesn’t surprise me in the least.

The research conducted by Ohio State University, found that those men who would be classified as very fond of taking a selfie, displayed a wide range of antisocial behaviours.

The study comprised 800 men between the ages of 18 and 40 were surveyed on their attitude towards posting photographs of themselves on social media. Impulsiveness and a lack of empathy were among the most prevalent personality traits, while unsurprisingly (to me) the respondents were also found to possess high levels of narcissism.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, the main author of the study, Assistant Professor of Communications Jesse Fox, said it was unsurprising to find that those who spend time editing their photos showed definite signs of narcissism, adding that “this is the first time it has actually been confirmed in a study.”

“The more interesting finding is that they score higher on this other antisocial personality trait, psychopathy, and are more prone to self objectification,” Professor Fox said.

The goal of the study was to examine “The Dark Triad,” a trio of personality traits – narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy – along with self-objectification, as predictors for social behaviour. Self-objectification is a personality trait that means you value appearance above everything else. It can mean your own appearance or how others appear to you. Personality wise it can lead to the individual discounting and ignoring other people based purely on how they look.

“We know that self-objectification leads to a lot of terrible things, like depression and eating disorder in women,” Professor Fox said.

Fox believes that self-objectification has become an ever increasing problem due primarily to the continued and expanding use of social media.

“That means self objectification may become a bigger problem for men, as well as for women,” Professor Fox said.

The study was also able to determine that through a combination of personality traits such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, (which is the use of cunning and duplicity in every day conduct) and psychopathy, researchers could accurately predict the length of time the men, who took part in the study, spent on social networks. For example, the traits of narcissism and psychopathy could be directly related to a predicted number of selfies that were posted on each of the respondents social media sites.

The study is now being expanded to determine if women also possess the same personality traits as men, or if their obsession with selfies comes from a different set of motivating factors.

It just goes to show at the heart of every selfie, lurks the personality of Hannibal Lector. You have been warned.