Selfie-Takers Overestimate Their Attractiveness
People tend to overestimate their attractiveness in self-taken photos, more so than in photos taken by a third party. This is true for everyone, but significantly more true for people who habitually snap selfies.
The internet is riddled with selfies, and the common thread is that people who overexpose themselves must be compensating for something: low self-esteem, physical flaws, etc. lead them to seek validation via electronic “likes.” But according to a new study by researchers at the University of Toronto, that probably isn’t true — selfie-takers really do think they’re just really, really ridiculously good-looking.
The study involved 198 college students, 100 who reported regularly snapping selfies, and 98 who rarely or ever did so. All participants were asked to take a selfie with a smartphone, and in addition had a photo taken by someone holding a camera. They were then asked to rate each photo based on how attractive or likeable they thought it would be on social media. Erstwhile, a group of 178 independent panelists were asked to evaluate the photos the same way, as well as rate each one for narcissism.
The results would indicate that we all suffer from something called self-favoring bias: everyone rated their photos as more attractive than the independent raters did. However, the selfie-takers really loved themselves. They were significantly more likely to overestimate their attractiveness, even more so when judging their selfies versus the third party photos. On a related note, the independent panelists consistently rated the photos of habitual selfie-takers as more narcissistic.
The researchers took the results to indicate that habitual selfie-taking increases the propensity for self-favoring bias, though they’re not exactly sure how. The most straightforward theory is that online validation really does enhance their sense of self. However, it’s also possible that in their ritualistic selfie-snapping, they believe that they’ve developed strategies to take more attractive selfies that don’t actually work.
It’s kind of a grim reality, if you think about it. Deep down, we want to believe that people are good; that there’s no way so many people can be as self-centered as their social media presence suggests. And yet, that may not be the case. If her Instagram profile is nothing but THOT selfies, head for the hills: she really is that into herself.