Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Are Selfie-Takers Narcissists?

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Are Selfie-Takers Narcissists?

Article excerpt

You do it. Your mom, dad, siblings, and friends probably do, too. World leaders and entertainers do it. But why?

Master's students in communications, entrenched in a selfie-saturated social media culture, wondered: What motivates me and you--and people of all ages, cultures, genders, and religions--to take and share selfies?

The commonly assumed answer is narcissism. But in their study, the five student researchers showed that individuals' motives often extend beyond self-obsession and showing off.

"It's important to recognize that not everyone is a narcissist," said coauthor Steven Holiday. After analyzing their survey results and interviews, researchers identified three categories of selfie-takers: communicators, autobiographers, and self-publicists.

Communicators take selfies primarily to engage their friends, family or followers in a conversation: "They're all about two-way communication," explained coauthor Maureen Elinzano. So you want to spark a conversation about the value of voting and encourage your followers to fulfill their civic duty? Follow actress Ann Hathaway's lead and post your "I voted" selfie on Instagram.

Autobiographers use selfies to record key events in their lives and preserve significant memories. And while people in this group still want others to see their photos, they aren't necessarily seeking the feedback and engagement that communicators are. …

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