The Psychology of “Selfies” ~ Weigh In


So – I’m kind of fascinated with the psychology behind “selfies” right now. (If you’ve never heard the term, a selfie is a self-portrait taken primarily these days via Instagram.) I tried to find one of myself on my Instagram feed, but the picture above is the best I could come up with which is actually more of a selfie of my 4 month old.

It seems so simple – a self-portrait – but it’s not.

Personally, when I see a selfie, I can’t help but wonder what is going through someones head when they take the picture. Sometimes it’s obvious – they feel great and it’s shining through. These are the pics that make me smile. I love them.

Sometimes an insecurity is just as obvious. It almost hurts to look.

But, it’s the individuals that consistently take their own pics that really make me think.

Is it narcissism? Or is it simply healthy self-esteem? (You can listen in to The Current on CBC where Anna Maria Tremonti chatted about this subject on Jan. 30th, 2013.)

I don’t have any major declarations on the subject, it just fascinates me. The ever changing landscape of social media is providing us with no shortage of new social experiments.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – do you follow anyone on Instagram that goes heavy on the selfies? Do you think it’s just healthy self-esteem or do you lean toward narcissism?


6 thoughts on “The Psychology of “Selfies” ~ Weigh In

  1. This made me laugh. I have taken a few selfies from time to time and like taking them with my littles but I know a couple people on FB who take several a day. They fill my facebook stream but because they are mostly family I just try to look past it and keep scrolling. I could be way off but I wonder if it has to do with a need for attention or validation from other people — that quest for people to “like” you. If I start to get out of hand with selfies call me on it. Please 🙂 Also – I love that photo of you two. 

    1. That’s a great point – seeking validation maybe. Hadn’t thought of that. In this case it would be someone who has a lot of insecurity then. I know people who do this on FB but not with selfies, with status updates. 😉
      But is insecurity at the root of narcissism? I think not – in some cases anyway. SO Interesting.

      I’d love to hear from someone who takes a lot of selfies. Hear some different perspectives!


  2. Ah, the selfies. I think it’s lumped into the new culture that social media, in general, has created. I think there are plenty of non-narcissist people who take selfies, but I think the general culture is leaning more toward narcissism and bloated self-importance. The “celebrity culture,” where everyone thinks that their statuses and their musings and their daily to-dos are interesting and important enough to share with the world. (Says the girl with a blog.) I think we’re at a point now where it’s just normal and acceptable — so we don’t really think of it as being like that, and some selfies can very much be an indicator of self-esteem — but I definitely think that it has its roots there. 

    1. Isn’t it so interesting to observe how this new culture is unfolding? I read an article in the Huffington Post actually (I should link to it), about how Gen Y’ers go to great lengths to get the perfect shot for their profiles, it was interesting.Also – when I was doing some research I saw a study that showed that “Being famous” was at the top of the life priority list for young people (this is the gist of it). Crazy, yet exhilarating times we’re living in.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Michelle!

  3. I am actually doing some research online about this and the recent culture of people who are practically sharing almost everything in their lives. I wish to understand why and how it became a norm to take photos of yourself several times in a day and even make a collage out of it? I remember there was this one girl who took photos of herself for one full year and the only obvious change is her hair cut and color.

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