Does taking selfie cause low-quality romantic relationships?
Selfie is a very common phenomenon today. With the advent of smartphones and social media, it becomes even easier for people to take pictures of themselves.
This means that more and more people upload photos on their social media accounts. In fact, Google reported that there were 24 billion selfie photos uploaded to their database last year.
This staggering number proves that sharing personal photos on the web is phenomenal.
But the question is what could be the possible effect of selfies?
A handful of psychological studies found that taking a selfie is associated with a narcissistic personality. Narcissistic individuals are dominant and superior. They always want to be praised by others.
However, some researchers believe that selfies have a negative impact on romantic relationships quality. For example, Daniel Halpern, James Katz and Camila Carril argued that taking selfies is detrimental to romantic relationships.
“Drawing on social-psychology and communication theories, we advance a theoreticalmodel to explain the negative effects of selﬁes on romantic relationships. We suggest thatthis individualistic use of social media is related to selﬁe related conﬂicts between partnersthrough two processes: (1) jealousy, stemming from excessive individual photo-sharing orcomments about those pictures, and (2) that, by sharing ﬂattering images of oneself, anonline ideal persona is created in the picture-taker’s mind that diverges from real-life.”
Selfies and low-quality romantic relationships
In addition to previous studies, Halpern and his colleagues found a significant contribution to our understanding of selfie behavior.
The result of their study suggests three important findings:
1. Selfie frequency is related to narcissism.
People who often post their personal photos on social media are the ones who wanted to create an impression to others.
“… we argued that users who post selﬁes with more frequency would focus more on themselves, and speciﬁcally, on how they want to be seen by others.”
2. Selfies are related to low-quality romantic relationships.
The constant uploading of personal photos on social media could create feelings of jealousy between partners.
“Applying the same logic, we theorized that partners may begin to question the volume of selﬁes shared by their signiﬁcant others, and wonder why there is such a desire for the partner to share more broadly with others something that is viewed as ‘‘theirs.” Comments on those selﬁes, and replies to those comments, may engender yet more feelings of jealousy, prompting surveillance behaviors and subsequent conﬂicts that may jeopardize a more stable relationship. In fact, our results showed that jealousy conﬂictscould effectively explain the indirect association between taking selﬁes and a lower quality of relationship between romanticpartners.”
3. Selfie is related to self-presentation.
“Drawing on the public-commitment explanatory framework, and supported by literature on SNS that show how individuals tend to display their ‘‘hoped-for possible selves,” we moved this logic forward by arguing that individuals not only create an image that reﬂects their aspirational social selves by posting selﬁes, but that they also shift their self-beliefs to correspond to the ‘‘angles” perceived by the public.”
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.