Taking and sharing smiling selfies can help one become a happier person, say Scientists at California University

Researchers collected nearly 2,900 mood measurements during the study and found that subjects in all three groups experienced increased positive moods

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Women taking selfies on beach. Pixabay
  • Chen and her colleagues designed and conducted a four-week study involving 41 college students
  • The project involved three types of photos to help the researchers determine how smiling, reflecting and giving to others might impact users’ moods
  • The study shows that sometimes our gadgets can offer benefits to users

New York, Sep 14, 2016: Taking smiling selfies with your smartphone and sharing them with your friends can help make you a happier person, say computer scientists at the University of California, Irvine.

“This study shows that sometimes our gadgets can offer benefits to users,” said senior author Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics.

“Our research showed that practicing exercises that can promote happiness via smartphone picture-taking and sharing can lead to increased positive feelings for those who engage in it,” lead author Yu Chen, a post-doctoral scholar, added.

By conducting exercises via smartphone photo technology and gauging users’ psychological and emotional states, the researchers found that the daily taking and sharing of certain types of images can positively affect people.

A couple taking selfie. Pixabay
A couple taking selfie. Pixabay

Chen and her colleagues designed and conducted a four-week study involving 41 college students.

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The participants — 28 female and 13 male — were instructed to continue their normal day-to-day activities (going to class, doing schoolwork, meeting with friends, etc.) while taking part in the research.

Each was invited to the informatics lab for an informal interview and to fill out a general questionnaire and consent form. The scientists helped students load a survey app onto their phones to document their moods during the first “control” week of the study.

Participants used a different app to take photos and record their emotional states over the following three-week “intervention” phase.

The project involved three types of photos to help the researchers determine how smiling, reflecting and giving to others might impact users’ moods.

The first was a selfie to be taken daily while smiling. The second was an image of something that made the photo taker happy. The third was a picture of something the photographer believed would bring happiness to another person (which was then sent to that person). Participants were randomly assigned to take photos of one type.

Researchers collected nearly 2,900 mood measurements during the study and found that subjects in all three groups experienced increased positive moods.

Some participants in the selfie group reported becoming more confident and comfortable with their smiling photos over time, said the study published in the journal Psychology of Well-Being.

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The students taking photos of objects that made them happy became more reflective and appreciative.

And those who took photos to make others happy became calmer and said that the connection to their friends and family helped relieve stress. (IANS)

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    And people said that there were no upsides to taking selfies and there were just a waste of time.

  • Manthra koliyer

    Yes, gadgets give virtual happiness!

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    Smile. Click . Share
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Artificial Intelligence Capable of Identifying Personality Based on Selfies

Russian researchers reveal that artificial intelligence (AI) is able to infer people's personality from selfies

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artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is able to infer people's personality from 'selfie'. Pixabay

Russian researchers have revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) is able to infer people’s personality from ‘selfie’ photographs better than human raters do. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, revealed that personality predictions based on female faces appeared to be more reliable than those for male faces.

The technology can be used to find the ‘best matches’ in customer service, dating or online tutoring, the researchers from HSE University and Open University in Russia, said. Studies asking human raters to make personality judgments based on photographs have produced inconsistent results, suggesting that our judgments are too unreliable to be of any practical importance. According to the study, there are strong theoretical and evolutionary arguments to suggest that some information about personality characteristics, particularly, those essential for social communication, might be conveyed by the human face.

After all, face and behaviour are both shaped by genes and hormones, and social experiences resulting from one’s appearance may affect one’s personality development.

However, the recent evidence from neuroscience suggests that instead of looking at specific facial features, the human brain processes images of faces in a holistic manner.

Artificial Intelligence
AI is able to infer people’s personalities from ‘selfie’ photographs better than human raters do. Pixabay

For the findings, the researchers teamed up with a Russian-British business start-up BestFitMe to train a cascade of artificial neural networks to make reliable personality judgments based on photographs of human faces.

The performance of the resulting model was above that discovered in previous studies which used machine learning or human raters.

The artificial intelligence was able to make above-chance judgments about conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness based on ‘selfies’ the volunteers uploaded online.

The resulting personality judgments were consistent across different photographs of the same individuals.

The study was done in a sample of 12,000 volunteers who completed a self-report questionnaire measuring personality traits based on the “Big Five” model and uploaded a total of 31,000 ‘selfies’. The respondents were randomly split into a training and a test group.

A series of neural networks were used to preprocess the images to ensure consistent quality and characteristics and exclude faces with emotional expressions, as well as pictures of celebrities and cats.

artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence predicts personality efficiently based on selfies. Pixabay

Next, an image classification neural network was trained to decompose each image into 128 invariant features, followed by a multi-layer perceptron that used image invariants to predict personality traits.

In comparison with the meta-analytic estimates of correlations between self-reported and observer ratings of personality traits, the findings indicate that an artificial neural network relying on static facial images outperforms an average human rater who meets the target in person without prior acquaintance.

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Conscientiousness emerged to be more easily recognizable than the other four traits. Personality predictions based on female faces appeared to be more reliable than those for male faces, the study said. (IANS)

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Know Why Parents Should Worry About Their Daughters’ Perfect Selfies

Why parents should worry about girls' perfect selfies

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selfies
Adolescent girls who invest a lot of time in editing and selecting the selfies to post are mostly body insecure. Pixabay

Parents, please take note. Researchers have recently found that adolescent girls who invest a lot of time in editing and selecting the perfect selfie may feel more body shame and appearance anxiety.

Published in the Journal of Children and Media, the research showed that when adolescent girls spend too much time agonising over which photo of themselves to post, or rely heavily on editing apps to alter their images, there may be a cause for concern.

The study found that selfie editing and time invested in creating and selecting the perfect one, were both related to self-objectification, which led to body shame, appearance anxiety and more negative appearance evaluations in teen girls.

“Our main finding was that we really shouldn’t be too worried about kids who take selfies and share them; that’s not where the negative effects come from. It’s the investment and the editing that yielded negative effects,” said senior study author Jennifer Stevens Aubrey from University of Arizona in the US.

“Selfie editing and selfie investment predicted self-objectification, and girls who self-objectify were more likely to feel shameful about their bodies or anxious about their appearance,” Aubrey added. The findings were based on a study of 278 teenage girls, ages 14 to 17.

selfies
“Our main finding was that we really shouldn’t be too worried about kids who take selfies and share them; that’s not where the negative effects come from,” said the researchers. Pixabay

They also responded to a series of statements designed to measure how much time and effort they spend selecting which selfies to share on social media – what researchers referred to in the paper as their level of “selfie investment.”

In addition, the girls completed a series of questionnaires designed to measure their levels of self-objectification and appearance concerns. The researchers said they chose to focus on adolescent girls because they are especially vulnerable to self-objectification.

Girls also are more likely than boys to experience negative consequences, such as body image issues, as the result of self-objectification, which can in turn lead to problems like depression and eating disorders, the researchers said. “Self-objectification is the pathway to so many things in adolescence that we want to prevent,” Aubrey said.

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The researchers said parents and caregivers of adolescent girls should be aware of red flags on teens’ phones, such as selfie editing apps or camera rolls teeming with selfies. If a teen seems to be selfie-obsessed, it might be time for a talk, they added. (IANS)

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Instagram Users Tend to Compose Selfies that Horizontally Centre on One of Our Eyes, Particularly Left

This alignment is because our eyes provide a wealth of information about our gaze direction and what we are paying attention to

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Instagram, Body Image, teenagers, posts, restrict
New research suggests that Instagram users tend to compose selfies that look attractive and not real. Pixabay

It may not just be artists who make their eyes the centre-point of their own original work. New research suggests that Instagram users tend to compose selfies that horizontally centre on one of our eyes, particularly the left.

This alignment is because our eyes provide a wealth of information about our gaze direction and what we are paying attention to, which may in turn be used to share important information with the viewer about our mood and what we are thinking about, suggest the authors of the study.

“The core result of this study was to replicate my earlier finding that painters tend to centre one eye in portraits, throughout the centuries, in a modern version of which the selfie takers are simultaneously both the artists and the subjects of the portrait,” said Christopher Tyler, Professor at the University of London and a collaborator in the study.

“This centering tendency opposes the alternative possibility of placing the symmetric face symmetrically in the frame, which would avoid leaving the non-centered eye ‘out in the cold’. These results are important for understanding the perceptual principles in operation as these diverse ‘portraitists’ choose the framing and composition of their pictures,” Tyler said.

Instagram, Users, Selfies
It may not just be artists who make their eyes the centre-point of their own original work. Pixabay

Previous research has suggested that painters apply the same eye-centering principle in their portraits of others and of themselves, whether knowingly or not, while other research has argued that the eye-centering phenomenon may just be a statistical artefact caused by random processes.

In the current study, the researchers analysed over 4,000 Instagram selfie photos with an equal proportion taken in the major cities of New York (US), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Moscow (Russia), Berlin (Germany) and Bangkok (Thailand).

The study subdivided the images into ‘standard selfies’ taken at arm’s length using a camera-phone or a similar digital device, or a ‘mirror selfie’ taken of the creator’s reflection through a mirror and including the digital device in shot. This is an important distinction, partly as it is needed to differentiate whether people have a left or right bias toward composing their selfies.

For each selfie the horizontal position of each eye relative to the centre-line of the image was measured, with the distance and direction of the closest eye recorded.

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Statistical analyses applied to this information showed that the selfie creators tended to centre one of their eyes slightly to the left of centre of the selfie, and usually the left eye.

Interestingly, this centering tendency varied less among selfie subjects than expected if the phenomenon happened by chance, and was seen consistently across all the cities sampled in the study. (IANS)