All those pure vanity selfies? Rather, they serve an important personal purpose

That delicious dessert at a restaurant, a trip to the beach or a drink with friends, we take pictures of everything, but of course we don’t always do it the same way: sometimes we want that dessert perfectly, other times you’d rather do a selfie. The researchers discovered that this depends on the purpose of the photo.

When we take a picture of an event from our own perspective, we mainly want to capture the physical experience, but if we choose a picture in which we capture ourselves in the picture, such as a selfie, we want to remember the deeper meaning of the experience. “Not only have we discovered that most people take both types of images in different situations, but we now know that people have different goals for each situation: they want to capture the experience in itself on one occasion and the greater meaning of it in the context,” says lead researcher Zachary Nessi van Di. last. moment in their lives Tübingen University.

photos on Instagram
It doesn’t matter whether people want to share a photo or whether they are using it for private use. “In a previous study that looked at Instagram photos—the ones shared by people—we found an equal number of first-person and third-person photos, and most participants reported posting both types of photos,” Niese explains. Saintias. “So even in situations where people share their photos with others, they are using two different perspectives. People took both types of photos in a way that suited their purpose.”

Make memories
If people want to capture the meaning or deeper meaning of an event, they take a third person photo, where they are standing themselves. When they look at those pictures, they are also reminded of the meaning more than when they look at the pictures from the first person, according to Six studies With a total of 2100 participants. They also liked their photos better if the perspective matched the purpose of the photo.

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Third person image to capture the deeper meaning of the experience. Photo: Maridav

The researchers found this surprising. “It was interesting to discover that people decided intuitively each day which perspective best suited the purpose of the photo, capturing the physical experience or the greater meaning of a moment in their life. And they tended to choose the perspective that matched what our study recommended. But what surprised me most was that This was also related to how much people liked the photo afterwards. If people took a photo from a perspective that better suited their purpose, they liked the photo better.”

Create a self-portrait
We don’t take all these pictures for nothing. “Taking and sharing pictures is part of everyday life for many people. While the many images in our popular culture are sometimes mocked, portraits help you reconnect with past events and build your own life story,” explains Nessi.

He asserts that one point of view is not better than the other. The study actually proves that the most effective perspective depends on what purpose someone has with the photo at that moment: of course you don’t always have to capture a deeper meaning. The researcher thinks it would be a good idea for people to pay more attention to the purpose of the photo. This way, they can choose the right perspective more often and look at the pictures with more fun and satisfaction later. “Images can serve as an essential human motivation for developing and understanding our self-image, both in terms of experiences in our lives and their larger meaning,” says Nessi.

A first-person photo to capture the experience in itself. Photo: Narong27

A story from your life
“Selfies provide people with an opportunity to capture moments in our lives that we can look back on and think about later,” explains the scientist. “The self, according to social psychologists, is twofold. On the one hand, it consists of how a person experiences life itself. That is, each person feels himself to be the person who sees, tastes, feels, hears, or experiences something in the present moment. On the other hand, he thinks People are into who they are as a person to others. They create narratives of their lives and the things they have experienced. Our work suggests that different types of imagery influence the way people think about their life experiences, providing potential insight into this dual view of the self. More specifically, person imagery gives The first is a better picture of how the person experienced that moment themselves, while the third person’s pictures show what that moment says about that person as a person and their life story.”

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all times
These two photoshoot perspectives have been around for a very long time. It doesn’t matter that people take a lot more pictures now, for example, than when cameras were still analog. “Taking pictures of your life is something people do in all cultures,” explains the researcher. Also different points of view – first vs. third person – are common in many cultures. In fact, it appears that people have been taking both types of images for as long as cameras have existed. One can find examples of first-person images of nature or cities in the ninth century. Ten, as well as many third-person images, such as portraits. So the need to sometimes capture the moment as it appears from our own eyes and sometimes to include ourselves in the image does not seem to be a unique phenomenon of Western culture at this point in history.”

Same intuition
However, what is not yet clear is whether people in other times and cultures had the same goal of these two types of images. “Interesting follow-up research would be to see if people in other cultures also intuitively take first-person images to capture their bodily experience while taking third-person images to capture the larger meaning of the event,” concludes Nisi.

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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