The Research Of Selfies & Individual’s Real Self-image Essay

The main goal of this research was to explore factors underlining selfie-posting and if selfies are an accurate representation of an individual’s self-image. Even in the past taking pictures was something of a global trend, although the method varied slightly from today. The older methods included paintings and drawings while in today’s society a picture can be taken within seconds (Carbon, C., 2017; Schneider, T. M., & Carbon, C., 2017).

Most people often ridicule the idea of taking and posting selfies (Tiidenberg, K., 2018; Diefenbach. S., & Christo-forakos, L. (2017), although it still seems to be a common occurrence amongst both youths and adults. This backlash against selfies “could relate to perceptions of the selfie-taker, es-pecially when considering that information about one’s possessions and behaviours are sought out and viewed as useful in making personality assessments even in a context where multiple pieces of information are available” (Burroughs, Drews, & Hallman, 1991 in Bevan, J. L., 2017, p. 495).

Similar reasons for this peak in selfies might have to do with the new technological era we are currently facing. We are more connected to our electronic devices than ever before and because of this we are altering our ways of how we perceive and use real life communication (Picard, R. G., 2015). Moreover, negative correlations associated with selfies has commonly been known to affect an individual’s social behaviour, leading to self-centeredness and feelings of isolation (Mills et al., 2018; Pantic et al., 2017; Körmendi, Brutoczki et al., 2016).

Furthermore, in answering the question whether there are any notable differences between identifying non-selfies and selfies. This study attempted to explore said fact and examine if the images presented could give clarification if its possibly to examine self-image represen-tations on individuals. Overall, it was evident that participants were better at identifying pictures taken as a selfie rather than during the mixed matched trials (non-selfie vs selfie). The issue confronted here during the analysis of the data was that perhaps images that were taken from a third party were distorted to a certain degree that the participants had a hard-er time identifying the facial structure of the face.

The research also proved that participants had more difficulty when faced with the second pairing. This trial consisted of two images representing two different individuals (mixed matches), one image being a non-selfie whilst the other was a selfie. Interestingly, this only occurred during the testing between variables on Diffimgself (non-selfie vs selfie) and dPrimeimgself (discriminating matches from non-matches).

Although, this did not occur dur-ing the trial involving two images of the same individual (same matches). The reasoning be-hind this might dwell on the fact that the mixed matches images had too many variances associated with them that the participants found it harder to concentrate on the image in front of them. Common variances that could make the participants doubt themselves in-clude; dissimilar facial structure, hairstyle variation, facial cropping, added filters, and how the image(s) were taken (Bevan, J. L., 2017; Qiu, L., et al, 2015).

Selfies are usually taken from a more upward angle and the face is angled either to the right or left showing the cheek, whilst a non-selfie is taken capturing the entire face as a whole (Qiu, L., et al, 2015). These issues could disorient the participants decision of choosing whether the images shown de-pict the same or two different individuals. Another possibility might stem from our pre-deposition of unconsciously registering the composition of facial structure and automatical-ly sorting the individual depicted into two following categories; unfamiliar or familiar.

Scholars have long argued that unfamiliar faces are harder to distinguish between because the brain works harder to try and comprehend the unknown pattern of the face (Ritchie, K. L., et al, 2018; Karczmarek, P., et al, 2016; Ryu, J., & Chaudhuri, A., 2006).

Whilst a familiar face is known to us because of the familiarity and stored memories in our unconsciousness, unfamiliar faces have no triggers for such associations. The second pairing that was tested were images of the same individuals grouped in a sepa-rate sequence as the mixed matched trials. The research aims, and objectives highlighted the fact that matches of the same individual would be easier for the participants, which proved to be correct in all instances except for the test pairing Sameimgself and dPrimeimgself.

Indicating a p-value of (p>0.28) that suggests that the results were fairly rep-resented but not statistically significant enough. This proves that participants were not en-tirely capable of discerning these images either, even though the images presented por-trayed the same individual. This is a new phenomenon that has not previously been ex-plored. In general, the two groups showed significant for most of the analysis conducted.

Granting the importance of the whole research that was affirmed during the results was the participants inadequacy to identify non-selfies with selfies even though in the same matched trials the images were of the same individual. Attesting that we as a human popu-lation are still facing troubles regarding the ability to distinguish between unfamiliar and familiar faces (Karczmarek, P., et al, 2016).

Additionally, the most prominent evidence demonstrated in the research concerned participants aptitude at distinguishing alterations between non-selfies and non-selfies as well as selfies and selfies. The attempt with this research was to explore a set of three conditions:

1) non-selfie vs non-selfie,

2) non-selfie vs selfie, and

3) selfie vs selfie, was considered harder to undergo.

The answer affirmed to be the mixed matched trials (non-selfie vs selfie) for both trial groups (Same and Different). Regarding implications a suggestion of altering the already conducted research is that because this was a field of selfie studies that had never previous-ly been research before resources were limited. Moreover, instead of only having the exper-iment being set up online, having the opportunity to study participants facial cues would have been an improvement to the existing collected data.

Despite these implications to the research, there were also a set of methodological limitations. These involved (a) that the sample size was to scarce to get an accurate representation of the entire population, a larg-er sample size of at least (n=200) would have been a substantial improvement. Another al-teration that would need to be made is (b) that an equal distribution of gender needs to be considered to get an estimate of how face matching differs amongst males and females. Fur-thermore, prominent variances were also present amongst the various trials and image test pairings that affected the result of the study. (c) Lack of available and reliable data, which inevitable required a limitation of the scope of the analysis.

This became prevalent during the test pairing for Difftotal versus Sametotal, where an outlier became evident. The reason-ing behind this resides in missing values that unfortunately reduced the data available to be accurately analysed to its full potential. This also caused a significant bias, which ultimately degraded the efficiency of the data (Kwak, S. K., et al, 2017). These limitations to the re-search sadly reduced the possibility for a large sample to be examined and explore in a more comprehensive and detailed manner.


In summary, although the research regarding selfies is becoming somewhat more known amongst scholars. The idea of selfies depicting an individual’s real self-image has not yet been previously research, except from this current study. The notion whether selfies can accurately show a true authentic image of another individual’s self-image is still questiona-ble. In this research it was evident that more women tend to prelude to selfie-posting than men. The relationship between matching selfies with one another compared to matching non-selfies and selfies was proven to be positively correlated. Confirming that selfies are easier to match than non-selfies. Further studies of this type of research may provide a deeper understanding of understanding selfie-matching and individuals preference regard-ing why certain images are easier to match than others.

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