Selfie syndrome associated with a range of mental disorders and narcissism


A recent study connects selfies to three traits called the “Dark Triad”: narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Now, they claim that selfies only exist to manipulate other people and have a certain evil connotation.

Many people are certainly skeptical about this. How can this sound so sinister?

We all know that selfies are camera shots of ourselves using our smartphones. Physical appearance is nowadays present on all of the social media we use every day: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. Many of the comments hurt people and have an effect on their mental health. Here’s something more about the research.


Machiavellianism refers to something done in an unscrupulous yet subtle way e.g. using dishonesty, expediency, deception or cunning.

Narcissism stands for self-love and people who are vain. They are fascinated by themselves. Its other names are: egocentrism, smugness, self-centeredness, etc.

Psychopathy is actually a mental disorder. The person who suffers from it shows antisocial and amoral behavior. He / She can’t have meaningful personal relationships because they don’t know how to love. They can be extreme egocentrics and don’t learn from experiences.

The study included an online survey made with men from the USA aged from 18 to 40. They posted selfies or they edited their image on photographs. The researchers included their self-objectification and how these people were judged. Some people valued themselves more and that was mostly based on the appearance they had.

The participants evaluated themselves with the help of a scale. The responses were different: some claimed to be manipulating other people (‘Mach IV’ scale); some weren’t concerned whether their actions were moral or not (‘Psychopathy’ scale) and some wanted other people to pay attention to them (‘Narcissistic Personality Inventory’). There were 800 men in the end whose age was averagely 29.


These were the conclusions after the tests and the analysis of the results:

There is a connection between people who include the self-objectification personality characteristics and the ‘Dark Triad’.

The ones who had narcissism and self-objectification were mostly connected to how much time they spent on their social networking sites.

Psychopathy and narcissism were mostly connected to the number of selfies that people posted on the social networking sites.

Self-objectification and narcissism were mostly connected to the number of edited selfies which were posted on the social networking sites.

Some of the most interesting and most surprising discoveries suggested that people who had an increase in their Dark Triad traits were likely to use their social networking sites so that they could engage into “cheater strategies” so that people could see them as social or interpersonal when they were actually antisocial.

Don’t be surprised of the fact that all of the participants were male. Previous studies showed that women had less Dark Triad characteristics than males who had higher self-objectification.

Males spent more time on their social networking sites than women and they self-objectified. Also, people who were more narcissistic spent more time on their social networking sites. Along with the ones experiencing psychopathy, these males were found to be posting selfies more often.


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