Monday, March 13, 2017

Dr. Faulkner: Does My Selfie Make Me a Narcissist?

A recent study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that rates of narcissism and self –promotional behavior were directly correlated to use of Facebook. Another article in The Guardian reports that diagnoses of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are on the increase comparable to the increased incidence of obesity. Cal State University researcher, Larry Rosen, has found correlations between excessive Facebook use and bad grades, poor health and anti-social personality disorders. Consider these statistics:

- It is estimated that through mid-2001 3.8 trillion photos were taken in all of human history. In 2015 alone 1 trillion photos were taken.  

Gigaom.com estimates the average mobile phone user takes 150 photos every month and that the average camera roll holds 630 photos and 24 videos.

- 1.23 billion people logged onto Facebook for September 2016 and photo uploads total 300 million per day reports zephoria.com.

·     Expandedramblings.com reports that 2.5 billion Snaps are uploaded each day to Snapchat.
Before you despair too much other researchers such as Amy Gonzales and Jeffrey Hancock found that active social media use enhanced self-esteem and promoted a greater sense of well-being. And Bruce McKinney at UNC suggests that this isn’t a narcissistic disorder but is just the “new norm.”  

So what are the take-aways?  First technology has greatly enhanced our ability to take and share photos.  Second, people consciously or unconsciously, recognize the power of images to convey information but more importantly to evoke emotion.  And finally, it seems that we are all more likely to want to share parts of our lives in an effort to connect with others.  Some could certainly argue that it is the media that has caused the disconnect, but that is a discussion for another blog.

Given the emphasis on personal experience and visual media, our teaching must be more visual.  Most recently I read an article that offered that after 3 days we retain 10% of what we heard but 60% of what we saw. Different sources may report different percentages but the fact is that humans are visual creatures.  We must capitalize on this to be the most effective instructors we can be.
-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

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