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Study Helps Explain How Selfies Are Used to Communicate

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A young man takes a selfie on a balcony.

Previous studies have established that people taking a selfie have three main aims: self-expression, documentation, and performance.


Tobias Schneider and Claus-Christian Carbon at Germany's Bamberg Graduate School of Affective and Cognitive Sciences enlisted 132 people to examine 1,001 selfies and characterize their first impressions to develop a communication profile.

The researchers compiled their dataset from the Selfiecity database, using text-free self-portraits captured by mobile cameras held by an individual's own hands or selfie sticks.

Each participant reviewed 15 selfies randomly chosen by an algorithm, then the researchers processed this data to condense first impressions into 26 categories.

Cluster analysis identified five "semantic profiles" reflecting aesthetic experience, imagined selfie-taker location/activity, personality-related terms, mood or atmosphere, and inferences about a selfie-taker's motives or identity, or "theory of mind."

Schneider said expressions of theory of mind stood out especially, highlighting "how effective selfies can be in terms of communication."

From Frontiers Science News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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