Main content area

A picture paints a thousand words: The influence of taking selfies on place identification

Stiglbauer, Barbara, Weber, Silvana
Journal of environmental psychology 2018 v.58 pp. 18-26
cognition, paints, quantitative analysis
Selfies are omnipresent, yet quantitative research on the topic is sparse. Selfies are a form of self-expression; but selfie-taking also shapes the selfie-taker's self. We argue that taking selfies in a place strengthens selfie-takers’ identification with that place. In three experimental studies (two-group post-test comparison design), the control group took pictures of a place (Studies 1 & 2: university; Study 3: city), whereas the experimental group took selfies in that place. Place identification was higher in the selfie condition than in the control condition (Study 1). Task enjoyment moderated the effect of taking selfies on place identification (Studies 2 & 3). However, not all sub-dimensions (i.e., affective, cognitive, and conative) of place identification were equally affected by the selfie-task across contexts. Our results suggest that taking selfies in a place can strengthen the linkage between selfie-takers and places. The effect can reverse for individuals who do not enjoy taking selfies.