Use a Selfie Stick? You Might Be a Psychopath

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP

An Ohio State University (OSU) professor, concerned about the self-absorption exhibited by those who take selfies, has a new target: the selfie stick, a metal rod attached to smartphones that enables picture-takers to photograph themselves from farther away, thus getting a larger shot.

Jesse Fox, an assistant professor of communications, told the OSU student newspaper, The Lantern, that the obsession with selfies among men is a reflection of an underlying psychopathology. Using a recent study of her own, she found that men who obsess with selfies score higher on the narcissism scale. She said they tend to value themselves for their looks, rather than their character, and are more likely to harbor psychopathologic problems.

Fox said of the selfie stick:

It’s a thing that couples and families are using so that they can fit everyone and the full background in their photo without passing their phone off to a stranger. But it’s definitely cutting down that social interaction of ‘Oh, will you take a photo for us if we take one for you?’ among people…

It really comes down to people wanting other people to approve how smart and beautiful and wonderful they are by ‘liking’ their Facebook or Instagram photos.

Fox’s bio on the OSU website reads:

My current projects are in three general areas: the role of social media in romantic relationships; persuasive avatars and virtual environments; and gender, sex, and sexuality in virtual spaces. Regarding social media and romantic relationships, we’ve investigated how users escalate relationships using social media, the positive and negative effects of social media use on relationships, and how breakups play out over social media.


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