A couple of weeks ago a Sony-sponsored study found that consumers are ready to embrace selfies as a tool. Now a research paper, published by Sarah Diefenbach and Lara Christoforakos of Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich published in Frontiers in Psychology in January suggests that a majority of smartphone users enjoys taking selfies, but very few people like looking at selfies of others.
The paper is titled 'The Selfie Paradox: Nobody Seems to Like Them Yet Everyone Has Reasons to Take Them' and is based on a study that surveyed 238 people from Austria; Germany and Switzerland. Of those who responded, 77% said they take selfies at least once a month and 49% said they receive selfies from others at least once a week. While respondents thought of their own selfies as somewhat ironic and playful, they had less favorable views on others' selfies.
'Altogether, participants expressed a distanced attitude toward selfies, with stronger agreement for potential negative consequences (threats to self-esteem, illusionary world) than for positive consequences (e.g., relatedness, independence), and a clear preference (82%) for viewing more usual pictures instead of selfies in social media.'
Many respondents also thought selfies could have an adverse effect on self-esteem and create a superficial and inauthentic image of the person taking and sending them. 90% of participants regarded others’ selfies as self-promotion. However, only 46% of respondents said the same about their own selfies. The research team acknowledges that the results are potentially biased towards the surveyed regions, and that other cultures have more accepting attitudes towards selfies. As so often in science, further study is required.