Search icon

Fitness & Health

13th Nov 2018

Taking lots of selfies makes you a narcissist, study finds

According to new research published in a psychology journal, posting too many selfies is associated with a 25% increase in narcissism

Alex Roberts

Everyone is partial to a gym selfie now and again – you’ve got to admit it

There’s no shame in occasionally doing it for the gram. If you feel particularly pumped after a good workout then the temptation to take pics is naturally high. Keeping track of your progress can also prove a useful way of staying motivated.

However, new research suggests uploading too many selfies is responsible for a rise in narcissism.

A study published in The Open Psychology Journal analysed the personality changes of 74 people aged 18 to 34.

Over a four-month period, researchers looked at subjects’ use of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

What is narcissism?

The Encyclopedia of Psychology defines narcissism as an ‘excessive preoccupation with self and lack of empathy for others’.

In those who uploaded the most visual images to social media, there was an average 25% increase in narcissistic personality traits over the four months.

Worryingly, many of the study’s subjects showed such an increase in narcissism it took them above the clinical cut-off for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

In essence, this research seems to confirm what you may have suspected – those who spend their entire workouts searching for a perfect mirror angle are probably narcissists.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom if you’re a keen social media user. Those who used platforms such as Twitter for verbal posts did not show the same increase in narcissism.

Of the people studied:

  • All but one used social media
  • Average use was around three hours a day [work-related use wasn’t considered]
  • Some used social media for as much as eight hours a day

Study leader Professor Phil Reed of Swansea University said:

“There have been suggestions of links between narcissism and the use of visual postings on social media. But, until this study, it was not known if narcissists use this form of social media more, or whether using such platforms is associated with the subsequent growth in narcissism.

“The results of this study suggest that both occur, but show that posting selfies can increase narcissism.

“Taking our sample as representative of the population, this means that about 20% of people may be at risk of developing narcissistic traits associated with their excessive visual social media use.”

Read more: