(Photo: Robert Recker/Corbis)
He takes a selfie, posing at the angle that best shows his strong jaw. He smoothes out the ruddiness on his cheeks with a photo-editing app on his phone and finally posts the pic on Instagram with a black-and-white filter.
He looks more “movie star” in black and white.
He could be Justin Bieber, Kanye West, James Franco, basketball star Kevin Durant or any of these guys — all prolific posers and posters of personal photos. But if he’s your boyfriend (or, guys, if this is you) there’s something you should know.
Actor James Franco even created a “meta” selfie T-shirt, featuring himself taking a selfie next to the image he snapped. (You can purchase it here at Represent.com)
Men who shower the Internet with photos of themselves are more likely to have narcissistic and psychopathic traits than guys who don’t share their self images online, new research has found.
Those who take the extra step of editing their selfies prior to posting — and by editing, we mean cropping and using filters or picture-editing software — also score high in self-objectification, which means that they prioritize their appearance pretty highly.
"Most people don’t think that men even do that sort of thing, but they definitely do," says lead researcher Jesse Fox, assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University, about her study, which was published on Jan. 7 in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
A 2013 Samsung survey backs her up, finding that men take double the number of selfies as women because it’s considered to be acceptable vanity.
The Ohio State study was conducted with 800 men ages 18 to 40 who completed an online survey about their photo-posting behavior on social media, along with standard questionnaires measuring for antisocial behaviors and self-objectification.
While it’s not very surprising that a man who posts tons of selfies is more narcissistic — which means he thinks he’s smarter, more attractive, and better than others but may have a fragile ego — it is interesting that this same man also tends to score higher on the psychopathic scale.
Psychopathy is an antitsocial personality trait that involves a lack of empathy and regard for others and a tendency toward impulsive behavior.
So should you dump your selfie-obsessed significant other?
A recent Justin Bieber selfie from his Instagram account. (Photo: Instagram).
No. The results don’t mean that men who post a lot of selfies are necessarily narcissists or psychopaths, Fox says. The men in the study all scored within the normal range of behavior — but with higher-than-average levels of these anti-social traits.
But, here’s a little trick to tell whether he’s more prone to psychopathic tendencies: The results showed that posting more photos was related to narcissism and psychopathy, but psychopathy was not related to editing photos.
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"That makes sense because psychopathy is characterized by impulsivity. 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," Fox says.
Editing photos was related, however, to higher levels of self-objectification, which rarely has been studied in heterosexual men, notes Fox. It means they value themselves mainly for their appearance, rather than for other positive traits.
"We know that self-objectification leads to a lot of terrible things, like depression and eating disorders in women," Fox says.
Your takeaway: If your guy (or you, if you’re a guy) posts tons of photos of himself without editing them, be on high alert for psychopathic tendencies. If he’s obsessing over editing them, then make sure he knows you love him for more than just his chiseled jaw.
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