what your instagram pics say about you

Your Instagram Pics Might Say More About You Than You Think

There are roughly 500 million people in the world who use Instagram on a daily basis. For those who don’t know, the network stopped being a digital photo album several years ago. Now we see the popular social network used for sales, promotion of goods and services, and even research. But, whether you know it or not, photos and filters in your posts can say a lot about your personality and even your health! Listed below are just a few things that your Instagram pictures might be telling the world.

happy couple taking a selfie

What Your Instagram Pictures Say About You

Posting Black-and-White Photos – Several studies have shown that your social media photos could suggest whether you’re depressed. To prove this theory, two researchers from Harvard University and the University of Vermont created a computer script that analyzed galleries of Instagram pictures. What did they find? It accurately predicted if the users were depressed. In their study, they found that “photos posted by depressed individuals were more likely to be bluer, grayer, and darker” in color. Interestingly, they found that human ratings of photo attributes – such as our assessment of whether the images are happy or sad – were “weaker predictors of depression, and were uncorrelated with computationally-generated features.”

Not Using Filters – Many Instagram users add filters to their photos. Some even download applications specifically made to alter and enhance the look of their images. But in their study, these two researchers reported that depressed people are less likely than others to use any filters on their Instagram images. That sort of makes sense, since adding filters to your snapshots (regardless of whether it’s Instagram or another app), usually results in brighter photos with more punched-up color and contrast.

Deleting Photos Without Likes – The Atlantic’s Adrienne LaFrance reports that researchers at Penn State University can tell how old you are based on your behavior on social networks like Instagram. Some distinct behaviors that they’ve spotted? Deleting photos that don’t generate enough likes, which is a behavior that teenagers often engage in on Instagram. “Teens want to be very popular, so they’re very conscious of the likes they’re getting,” says Dongwon Lee, an associate professor of the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University. Some additional findings that they touched upon related to the topic of photo interaction. Interestingly enough, teenagers tend to interact with more photos than adults do, but they also seem to post fewer photos themselves. Adults post photos with more diverse topics in mind, while teens mostly post photos that reflect their mood.

friends taking instagram selfie

Boastful Posts – Boastful posts can be another indicator of narcissism. Researchers at Brunel University in the United Kingdom report that narcissism is a pretty good predictor of the kinds of topics that somebody will write about on Facebook and other social media websites. Narcissists will frequently post about things like their diet, personal achievements, and their exercise regimen in order to seek attention and to feel validated. So if you’re posting photo after photo of your healthy meals, or of your outfit at the gym (and you’re not running a food or fitness blog), our advice would be to tone it down a bit. Unless, of course, you want your Instagram friends and followers to know how much of a priority you place on your physical appearance.

Posting Instagram Selfies – Researchers at Florida State University examined the predictors and consequences of posting selfies on Instagram. They found that “body image satisfaction was sequentially associated with increased Instagram selfie posting and Instagram-related conflict, which related to increased negative romantic outcomes.” The upshot? When Instagram users post selfies because they’re satisfied with the way they look, they run the risk of negatively affecting their relationships with others.

Editing Or Enhancing Selfies – Selfies don’t only affect your relationships. They can also affect the way you see yourself. Researchers at Australia’s La Trobe University found that girls who regularly share selfies on social media, relative to those who don’t, report “significantly higher overvaluation of shape and weight, body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and internalization of the thin ideal.”

couple taking a selfie photo

What Else Can Be Revealed By Your Instagram Profile

People younger than the age of 25 are less prone to smiling in profile photos. Also, Instagram users who tag their friends in photos are less prone to loneliness. Conversely, people who post photos that are not addressed to anyone and that don’t motivate others for discussion may feel more lonely. Finally, selfies don’t always reveal narcissism. There are actually 3 groups of selfie lovers in this world: communicators, autobiographers and self-publicists. The first will usually share photos in order to get their friends and subscribers involved in a discussion. Autobiographers prefer to make selfies so they can capture memorable moments in life. They don’t mind others seeing their photos, but they make selfies for themselves rather than to generate likes. Finally, the self-publicists like to show almost every part of their life, hoping to put themselves in a good light.

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