A study reveals that taking selfies may increase susceptibility to eating disorders

A study reveals that taking selfies may increase susceptibility to eating disorders
A recent study issued a caution about the potential impact of taking selfies on vulnerability to eating disorders. Selfies, widely popular on social media, are self-portraits captured by the subject, who holds the camera away from their body and points it back at themselves.
This study, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, found that people tended to perceive women’s bodies as slimmer when viewing selfies compared to photographs taken from other angles. Moreover, there was evidence suggesting that individuals displaying a higher degree of certain disordered eating symptoms tended to rate bodies in selfies more favorably.
Based on this discovery and prior research from other studies, the researchers propose that viewing selfies could potentially have a more detrimental impact on individuals prone to developing eating disorders compared to other types of photographs.
Ruth Knight from St John University and Catherine Preston from the University of York in the UK led the research team. They highlighted how many people encounter selfies daily as they navigate numerous social media platforms. They also pointed out that filters can alter the way bodies appear. This study’s findings indicate that the angle from which a photo is taken can influence judgments about body size, implying that what we see on the internet, even with simple unfiltered selfies, may not accurately represent real-life proportions.
Previous research has suggested that viewing selfies can influence viewers’ assessments of the attractiveness of the subjects in the photos and, in some cases, lead to comparisons affecting viewers’ contentment with their own appearance. However, most of this research has concentrated on the perception of faces in photos rather than bodies.
To provide new insights, the research team assessed female participants’ judgments of photos from various angles of ten female volunteer models dressed in exercise clothing. Excluding their faces, each volunteer’s body was photographed from different perspectives: a traditional external viewpoint, a selfie taken at arm’s length, a selfie captured using a selfie stick, and from the volunteer’s own perspective, with the camera looking down from the chin.
Participants also completed a questionnaire to gauge the extent to which they engaged in thoughts and behaviors associated with disordered eating. After analyzing the results from four different experiments, the researchers observed that participants generally assessed bodies in the selfie images as slimmer than those in the external-perspective images, although attractiveness ratings didn’t show significant differences. Chin-down images were perceived as less slim than selfies and were rated as the least attractive of all the perspectives examined.
These findings underscore the potential connections between social media usage and body satisfaction. Nevertheless, the researchers acknowledged several limitations of the study, including a small number of participants and imprecise matching of photo angles among volunteer models, which could have influenced the judgments made.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login