The Dangerous Psychological Trait at the Root of Selfie Culture

Katie Sweeney

Although people have been taking self-portraits for years, it’s only recently that the selfie craze has reached a dangerous crescendo. Last summer there were more selfie-related deaths than deaths caused by shark attacks. Trying to snap the perfect photo while on an incredibly high bridge or in front of an angry bison has resulted in a surprising number of tourist fatalities. According to Business Insider, selfies are not only the cause of death for people but animals, too. In the article, psychologist Michael Weigold attempts to figure out why someone would feel so compelled to snap the perfect selfie that they would risk their life or the life of another living creature.

Studies show that there is a direct link between narcissism and the need to take and share selfies. “Narcissism is described as an inflated view of the self, coupled with a relative indifference to others,” explains Weigold. “Narcissists tend to overrate their talents and respond with anger to criticism. They are also more likely to bully and less likely to help others. Surveys of college students show the trait is far more prevalent today than even as recently as 30 years ago.”

Selfies are this generation’s preferred mode of self-expression because they draw attention, which to a narcissist, seems like a good thing. But as Weigold points out, car accidents also draw a lot of attention, and rubbernecking is definitely not considered a positive social response. While Weigold hasn't provided a resolution to the narcissist-driven selfie craze, it's tough to disregard it as a growing issue. Wondering if you’re a narcissist? Here are 21 common signs of the trait.

Learn more about this topic when you read Unmasking Narcissism.

Do you like sharing selfies? What is your motive for posting pictures of yourself?

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