Tech & Science

The science behind a selfie: Capturing meaning vs. experience

People who aren’t fans of the “selfie” have long dismissed photography as a vanity exercise, but new research shows that taking selfies can help you better keep the weight of moments and events. There is a possibility.

the study, published last week In the peer-reviewed journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, we found that photographs of people taking pictures can help us “capture meaning” in the blink of an eye, not just physical memories. bottom.

Processing our lives through photography has been a part of human life for decades, but the digital age has made this phenomenon more accessible than ever. Millions of photos are shared on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms every day.

Researchers point out that there are many different reasons why people take pictures, and the types of photos they use can be to recall a particular striking image, such as a beautiful landscape, or to capture the emotions of a moment or event with a loved one. theorized that may be related. what photography means to us.

First-person photography is taken from the viewer’s point of view, allowing you to see the scene through the viewer’s eyes. Third person photography is when the photographer points the camera and includes himself in the scene he is about to capture.

The term “selfie” was coined in the early 2000s, but didn’t start gaining popularity until the early 2010s. With the advent of smartphones, an unprecedented number of people carried their camera-equipped devices with them everywhere. they. Selfies have spread all over the internet as front-facing cameras that allow the person taking the picture to see themselves on their phone screen to see themselves before they click the shutter button have become popular and improved in quality.

But do selfies achieve a specific goal that first-person photography doesn’t?

A previous study on the perspectives of photos posted on Instagram found that first-person and third-person photos were typically shared equally, with 70% of individuals having at least one recent photo from each of these perspectives. It turns out that there is

To determine how these two different types of pictures create meaning, the researchers looked at six recent studies involving more than 2,000 participants in total.

The first study examined whether intention to enter a photo influenced participants’ choice of whether to take a selfie or a first-person photo. When given a hypothetical scenario in which they might want to take a picture, such as spending a day at the beach with friends, participants rated how important it was to commemorate the event. Those who said the event meant more to them were more likely to take third-person photos than first-person.

A second and third study sought to manipulate participants’ choice of whether to take first-person or third-person photos and found similar patterns persisted.

In a third study, participants were shown two photographs of the same event (first and third person perspectives) and were asked to rate the meaning of the event and whether they would have chosen the event. rice field. If they are the person in the scenario, take a first or third person photo. Participants are more likely to choose first-person view when the goal is to recreate the physical experience of the event, and choose third-person view when told to prioritize meaning. It’s more likely.

In studies 4 and 5, participants rated their Instagram photos on whether they best captured meaning and physical experience.

A sixth study, based on patterns established by research, found that the conflicting style of photography and the goal of capturing meaning and physical experience affected how much people liked the photographs they took. Participants tended to rate third-person photographs higher when intended to capture meaning compared to those intended to capture experience, but First-person photos were rated fairly evenly regardless of intent.

All six of these studies recruited participants online and most of them were conducted through the same platform. Participants received a small monetary reward for their participation in the study.

Researchers say the study raises new questions about alternative ways humans understand the world and themselves through the lens of a camera.

“Given the importance of individual photographs to people’s life stories, the current study paves the way for future studies exploring this connection,” the researchers wrote.

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