Say cheese! Selfies taken by men, women differ: researcher

Say cheese! Selfies taken by men, women differ: researcher

Jennifer Sedgewick says you can tell a lot from a person by how they take a selfie.

Sedgewick, a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, studied 900 selfies posted to the social dating app Tinder for a paper in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. She was trying to see whether there were any significant differences between how men and women take pictures of themselves.

"We found that men took more pictures from below, thus making them appear taller or more dominant," she told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"Whereas women take more pictures from above, therefore making them appear shorter or less dominant."

She focused on Tinder to place the selfies in a particular context — namely, attracting a potential mate.

"When people are taking these selfies, they're trying to pose themselves in the most attractive way," she said.

"And with Tinder, there's not a lot of other information given, so that first profile picture is actually extremely important."

Other than dominance, Sedgewick found that people chose their camera placement for other reasons to make themselves look more attractive.

"One of the things holding the camera from above can do is accentuate things like bigger eyes, or a slimmer frame," she said.

"Whereas, if you were taking from below, that can accentuate other things, like a strong, masculine jaw."

Women take more selfies

She also found that women took far more selfies (92 per cent) than men (56 per cent).

"When you get to have that power over how you look in the image, especially when you're trying to make yourself look most attractive, that's probably a really good strategy," she said.

While selfies have dominated popular culture for the last several years, there haven't been many studies completed by academics. As a result, there's still a certain amount of guesswork involved in discerning why people are doing what they do.

Next, Sedgewick is interested in looking at how picture placement fits into political discussion, especially how different sides portray figures on the other side of the aisle.

"How do conservatives versus liberals show people from the opposite party?" she asked. "Do you want to show them in a way that makes them seem more powerful or less powerful?"