But third-person photographs like selfies (documenting a moment with themselves in it) better reflect the deeper meaning of the event in their lives.
“We found that people have a natural intuition about which perspective to take in order to capture what they want from a photograph,” said lead author Zachary Nees, a Ph.D. A graduate of The Ohio State University, he is now a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Tübingen in Germany.
Study co-author Lisa Libby, professor of psychology at Ohio State, said the results also counter the idea that people post selfies on sites like Instagram just to promote themselves.
“With you in it these photographs can document the greater meaning of a moment,” she said. “It shouldn’t be vanity.”
psychology of selfie
Previous research suggested that capturing the physical experience of an event or its broader meaning are probably two important Inspirations for taking personal photos.
For example, one might photograph the ocean to capture the physical feel of a beautiful and relaxing day at the beach with a friend. Or they can take a photo of themselves in it to capture the larger meaning of spending time with a friend.
In a series of six studies involving 2,113 participants, researchers explored the influence of perspective in personal photography.
In one online study, participants read a scenario in which they wanted to take a picture, such as spending the day at the beach with a close friend. They were asked to rate how important the experience would be to them, and how important it would be to the larger meaning.
The results showed that the higher participants rated the meaning of the event to them, More likely he said he would take a picture with himself in it.
finding the perfect shot
Another study demonstrated the veracity of people’s intuitions about whether each perspective better captures the experience or meaning of events. The study asked people to examine photos that they had posted on their Instagram accounts.
Participants opened their most recent post containing their picture and were asked: “What does this picture make you think more about?” “Physical experience of the moment” or “Greater meaning of the moment” with response options.
The results showed that if the photo featured the participant in the shot, they were more likely to say The picture made him think about the larger meaning of the moment, While photographs depicting the scene from his own visual perspective made him think about the physical experience.
But sometimes people can’t get a photo that captures their target – and they don’t like the photo as a result.
Capturing the physical and emotional experience of an event
In another experiment, the researchers again asked participants to open their most recent Instagram post, which contained a picture of themselves. They were asked whether they were trying to capture the larger meaning or physical experience of the moment.
Participants then rated how they felt about the photo on a scale of 1 (not at all positive) to 5 (extremely positive).
“We found that people liked their photo less when there was a mismatch between the perspective of the photo and the goal of taking the photo,” Libby said.
For example, if they said their goal was to capture the meaning of the moment, they liked the photo more if it was taken in the third person, with themselves in the image.
Overall the results indicate that People have an innate sense of what perspective they should use in photos to accomplish what they want to do with a photo, Nise said.
“I hope this study increases people’s knowledge of how photo perspective affects how they react to photographs,” he said. “That way they can be sure they consciously choose the perspective that will best serve their goals.”
The results also suggest that people may be posting photos to Instagram and elsewhere for more than just their audience, Nees said.
“This work suggests that people also have very personal motives for taking photos. Even on social media, it appears that people use themselves to capture the meaning of an experience or event.” curating images for viewing,” he said.