You might not think that taking too many selfies is a big problem, but according to scientists, 'selfitis' is a genuine thing and is in fact a 'serious psychological disorder'.

Two researchers based in India, Janarthanan Balakrishnan and Mark D. Griffiths, carried out the study with their test subjects, university students drawn from all over India, reports Playground Mag.

They took their inspiration from a 1995 hoax paper which first spoke of a so-called 'Internet addiction', a fake story that prompted real researchers to study it and prove that Internet addiction was real. With that in mind, they took the fake story about selfitis and went on to prove the existence of that, too.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The results that Balakrisnan and Griffiths came up with showed that, instead of there being a definitive idea of a 'selfitis sufferer', there was a gradual scale that mental health professionals could then use to determine whether someone is exhibiting signs of obsessive behaviour.

They came up with six key indicators that behaviouralists could observe:

• Environmental enhancement (creating memories of a place)
• Social competition (The desire for 'likes' on social media)
• Attention seeking on social media, similar to above
• Mood modification (taking selfies to relax or come out of a depressive state)
• Self-confidence (complements to selfies improve the selfie-taker's self-image)
• Subjective conformity (fear of not gaining acceptance of friends and groups if a selfie was not taken)

The study included 700 participants, aged between 18 and 30, all of whom took selfies every day and some of whom took as many as eight per day. Their results were astounding: 34 percent were deemed to be borderline obsessive, 40 percent met the standard of acute sufferers of selfitis and 25.5 percent were assessed to be chronic selfie takers.

Men were found to be more obsessive than women, too, with 57.5 percent of men scoring high for obsessive behaviour ahead of 42.5 percent of women.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

India is the country with the most Facebook users in the world, making it an ideal place to study. Questions in the study included 'What compels you to take selfies?', 'Do you feel addicted to taking selfies?' and 'Do you think that someone can become addicted to taking selfies?'

Answers they received included "Sometimes I explicitly compete with my friends to get more likes for my selfies", "I spend at least 20 minutes editing and grooming the picture before uploading it to social media" and "I admire myself and gain extraordinary confidence, when I see myself in selfies."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Mike Wood

Mike Meehall Wood is a freelance journalist and translator. He writes for LADbible, VICE and countless sports publications, focusing on rugby league, football and boxing. He is a graduate of Leeds University and maintains a fizzy pop obsession. Contact Mike at [email protected]

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