mirror selfie
A new study says those who post selfies are more likely to follow other people who also post selfies. kyliejenner/Instagram

It makes sense that people who take a lot of selfies might be a little self-obsessed, but what about people who look at and “like” a lot of selfies on social media? A new study says those who enjoy viewing and liking selfies on social media might also be narcissists.

The study published in the journal, “Computers in Human Behavior,” includes data from two experiments done by researchers at Sejong University in South Korea and Michigan State University. Specifically, the researchers looked at the way selfies and “groupies,” or a selfie of a group of people, and the poster’s level of narcissism were evaluated by viewers.

Narcissism, or narcissistic personality disorder, itself is a type of personality disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of self and of their own importance, according to the Mayo Clinic. The disorder can also cause people to feel a strong or excessive need for attention and admiration and they might also have a lack of empathy for others. A previous study has classified selfie taking itself as its own mental disorder, but the two are closely linked.

This self-obsession is associated with selfies, so when people see a selfie they automatically associate it with narcissistic traits, the researchers wrote in the literature review. But with groupies or photos taken by a third person, who’s not pictured, the researchers hypothesized that the association of narcissism might not be as strong.

The first experiment tested whether or not the photo type, meaning selfie vs. groupie vs. a photo that was taken by a third person, had an impact on perceived narcissism. Participants’ levels of narcissism were pre-tested and then their perception of other users’ levels of narcissism were measured using point scales with options from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” on statements like, “She liked to be the center of attention.” The second experiment tested whether the user’s popularity and the popularity of the photo itself.

What the study found is that narcissists are attracted to other narcissists on social media. So narcissistic viewers are more likely to have a positive attitude toward selfies in general as well as a more positive attitude toward posting selfies themselves.