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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 174-175

Selfie: How the hunt for “self” has developed from past

Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry, India

Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. V Dinesh Kumar
Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AMH.AMH_33_18

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How to cite this article:
Kumar V D. Selfie: How the hunt for “self” has developed from past. Arch Ment Health 2018;19:174-5

How to cite this URL:
Kumar V D. Selfie: How the hunt for “self” has developed from past. Arch Ment Health [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 May 25];19:174-5. Available from: http://www.amhonline.org/text.asp?2018/19/2/174/248888


Even though the medium and typical patterns of composition might differ, the curiosity for depicting oneself by means of pictures has been prolonging since ages, which suffice the basic affective needs of human being. When students in medical school were authorized to perform dissection, which was prohibited till then, they were eager to take photographs with hands poised in the cadaver and embracing the skeleton and sending them to their families along with postal cards. Similarly, any individual would wish to symbolize the important occasions of life and we could find that in the history of medicine, these self-portraits play an important role in conveying the message along with the emotional state associated with it. In the present era of technologies, Selfies can be considered as the product of a spontaneous intuition or a feeling or an idea.[1] Even though it is not as time-consuming as older days self-portraits or requiring a skillful professional, individuals who take Selfie are satisfied only with particular snapshots which would convey the desired emotion/mood they wish to communicate with others.[1]

People use self-presentation to construct an identity for themselves and up to a certain extent, this process of constructing their identity by posting Selfie could elevate their self-esteem. This is established by a complex interaction of social factors (acceptance or rejection of that Selfie by peers) and neural factors (circuitry between anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex).[2] In addition, editing of the color and contrast, changing backgrounds, and adding other effects before posting in social media platform can be understood by means of self-enhancement theory, whereby individuals want to portray their beautiful mirrored selves to others.[3]

A salient study in this field had[4] postulated three principal motivations behind taking a Selfie: (a) Selfie approval, (b) documentation, and (c) belonging and on correlation with various personality traits, they found that contrary to the expectation, these motivations are not connected with narcissism. For example, the motivation for taking “landmark Selfie” in front of sculptures and museum properties is mainly to build ongoing narratives (i.e., documentation) regarding the self[5] which is quite different from Selfie with narcissistic motives. Similarly, in group Selfie, members exhibit a phenomenon, “chameleon effect” which makes them to perform nonconscious mimicry of facial expressions and gestures[6] to show that they are belonging to the particular group.

To sum up, till now, researches related and analyzed Selfie from a single dimension by correlating it to obsessive behavior and narcissistic personality trait. However, humans have always been curious for documenting their lives, their personality and sometimes important instances using available medium. In addition, the concept of “self” is by itself a composite entity encompassing a diverse spectrum mediated by individual, social, and neural mechanisms. Through this letter, I would like to throw light on the multiple dimensions of “self” in the contemporary society and how we could understand it using Selfie behavior. In fact, in day-to-day life, even the individual taking Selfie might not be aware regarding what motivates him to take it and how it might presumably serve the purpose. Thus, more than the traits and behaviors assessed in the studies, it is the basic human need, transmitting across generations which make us use the add-on camera of the smartphone to keep a positive self-view and sometimes, to others.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Bruno N, Gabriele V, Tasso T, Bertamini M. ‘Selfies’ reveal systematic deviations from known principles of photographic composition. Art Percept 2014;2:45-58.  Back to cited text no. 1
Thagard P, Wood JV. Eighty phenomena about the self: Representation, evaluation, regulation, and change. Front Psychol 2015;6:334.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ma JW, Yang Y, Wilson JA. A window to the ideal self: A study of UK Twitter and Chinese Sina Weibo selfie-takers and the implications for marketers. J Bus Res 2017;74:139-42.  Back to cited text no. 3
Etgar S, Amichai-Hamburger Y. Not all selfies took alike: Distinct selfie motivations are related to different personality characteristics. Front Psychol 2017;8:842.  Back to cited text no. 4
Rokka J, Canniford R. Heterotopian selfies: How social media destabilizes brand assemblages. Eur J Mark 2016;50:1789-813.  Back to cited text no. 5
Chartrand TL, Bargh JA. The chameleon effect: The perception-behavior link and social interaction. J Pers Soc Psychol 1999;76:893-910.  Back to cited text no. 6


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