Past research has linked an affinity for selfies to narcissism and psychopathy. Now, a new study published in Psychology of Well-Being suggests that partaking in social media’s most ubiquitous means of personal representation actually enhances your emotional well-being. (Honestly, the two findings don’t seem totally mutually exclusive.)
The more recent, wholesome study on selfies took place over a period of four weeks. During this time, 41 participants — college students enrolled at a public university on the West Coast — were asked to download an app on their smartphone that would track their levels of happiness via five daily mood surveys: one in the morning, three during the course of the afternoon, one in the evening.
The coeds were divided into three groups. The first (“selfie”) group was asked to take a smiling selfie everyday, based on the theory that maintaining a positive facial expression — even a superficial one — can decrease stress. The second (“personal”) group was asked to photograph something that made them happy, since taking time to savor the “good things in life” is also a proven mood-booster. The third (“other”) group was asked to snap a picture of something they thought another person would appreciate and send the photo to that person, on the basis that providing emotional support is chicken soup for our own souls. For each group, one week of the observation period acted as a control, allowing the researchers to establish each participant’s baseline affect. (more…)