PULLMAN, Wash. (CBS Local) — People who post more selfies than posies to their social media accounts tend to be viewed more negatively by others, a new study said Tuesday.
Researchers at Washington State University found people who took selfies were perceived by strangers to be less likeable, less successful, more insecure and less open to new experiences than those who didn’t.
By comparison, people who posted more posies — photos of themselves taken by other people — were perceived as more successful, outgoing, likeable, dependable, and perhaps most importantly, had more potential for being a good friend.
“Even when two feeds had similar content, such as depictions of achievement or travel, feelings about the person who posted selfies were negative and feelings about the person who posted posies were positive,” Chris Barry, WSU professor of psychology and lead author of the new study, told WSU News. “It shows there are certain visual cues, independent of context, that elicit either a positive or negative response on social media.”
“Even when two feeds had similar content…feelings about the person who posted #selfies were negative and feelings about the person who posted posies were positive,” said Chris Barry, #WSU professor of psychology & lead author of the study. https://t.co/GxpYvbr2FZ 🤳📱 pic.twitter.com/SSvk5FQagf
— WSU News (@WSUNews) August 20, 2019
For the study published in the Journal of Research Personality, the research team analyzed data from two separate groups of students.
The first group, consisting of 30 undergraduates from a public university in the South, were asked to complete a personality questionnaire and agreed to let the researchers use their 30 most recent Instagram posts for the experiment.
The second group of students, consisting of 119 undergraduates from a university in the Northwest, was asked to rate the Instagram profiles of the first group on 13 attributes such as self-absorption, low self-esteem, extraversion and success, using only the images from those profiles.
The researchers have several theories to explain their results. For example, the generally positive reaction to posies may be due to the fact that photos appear more natural.
“While there may be a variety of motives behind why people post self‑images to Instagram, how those photos are perceived appears to follow a more consistent pattern,” Barry said.