In recent news, a new study published in the journal PLOS One shows that taking selfies does impact our perception of our bodies by deceiving us into thinking we look slimmer (and therefore more attractive) in the selfie when we may not necessarily look the same in real life.
PLOS One's study has major ramifications for the high position selfies occupy in today's world and can make us rethink our need to take selfies constantly as a way to uplift ourselves.
PLOS One Study
On October 11, the journal PLOS One published a study conducted by Ruth Knight from York St. John University and Catherine Preston from the University of York, UK. In the study, they "compared the attractiveness and weight judgements that participants made of images of the same bodies taken from different visual angles over a series of four experiments," with a total set of 272 participants.
The models for the experiment "were photographed from three different angles: a selfie angle, a chin-down angle, and a straight-on angle," according to NDTV. The study found that most people thought that the photos taken of the models from the 'selfie' angle were thought to be slimmer than images from other perspectives, and "egocentric images were judged to be the least attractive," according to the study.
Along with finding that most people think that the selfie angle makes one look slim, the study also showed that the response of most participants in terms of how they rated each models' picture corresponded to their own "disordered eating thoughts and behaviours," finding that people who were more severely affected by the symptoms of disordered eating tended to rate the pictures of the models taken from the selfie angle more favourably.
The study has major ramifications for the way we think about social media trends, in particular social media's relationship with our own body. It tells us that a virtual angle on a smartphone can make us think we're slimmer than we actually are, and can impact one's self-esteem. The study's authors acknowledge this, stating that "these results contribute to our understanding of how we perceive the images we see on social media and how these might be related to how we feel about our own and other people’s bodies."
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