How To Easily Check A Guy's Selfies For Signs He May Be A Sociopath

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man taking a selfie

If you're on dating apps like Hinge, Tinder, or Bumble, you probably already have a few no-brainer dealbreakers in mind when it comes to a guy's profile pictures.

You know, the swipe-left-before-you-even-bother-to-read-their-name-let-alone-the-rest-of-their-profile kind of pics. It's a natural behavior for anyone wading through these cyber cesspools ... I mean, for anyone trying to find the love of their life online.

My own list of images that call for an immediate swipe left includes profile pictures with guns, profile pictures with sunglasses on, profile pictures at the gym, and profile pictures comprised of only selfies.

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After all, a man's selfies can throw up major red flags disclosing signs of someone who is a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath.

I know, I know. Sometimes we are all our own best photographers, and selfies are pretty much a way of life these days. But just because selfies are ubiquitous, that doesn't mean they can't also be used to spot characteristics of people you should be extra careful to stay away from.

If you think I'm being paranoid, listen up, as science has my back once again.

The researchers behind a study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that two factors related to a man's selfies can predict whether he has what they refer to as the "dark triad" of personality traits — narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

If you aren't familiar with those terms, here are the basic definitions:

Narcissism: a belief that you’re smarter, more attractive, and better than others, but with some underlying insecurity.

Machiavellianism: a person so focused on their own interests they will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve their goals.

Psychopathy: a lack of empathy and regard for others and a tendency toward impulsive behavior.

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These three characteristics are signs of someone who may have a narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder, i.e., narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths.

The team of researchers from Ohio State University conducted an online survey of 800 men in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 40, all of whom were asked about their selfie-snapping and social media posting habits. Participants also completed personality questionnaires to evaluate them for tendencies toward narcissistic, psychopathic, and antisocial personality traits.

How to easily check a guy's selfies for signs he may be a sociopath, psychopath, or narcissist:

1. If a man posts tons of selfies

What the researchers found is that the more a guy takes and posts pictures of himself on Facebook, Instagram, etc, the more narcissistic and psychopathic tendencies has.

While it's not that surprising the guys who post their solo pics are more narcissistic (though this is the first study to prove it), researchers definitely found it interesting that they're scoring high on psychopathy, which indicates a lack of empathy for others and more impulsive behavior.

2. If a man edits his selfies on a frequent basis

As for the aspiring photo editor out there who removes his blemishes and gives himself a Miami tan before posting on Instagram? Rest assured, he is not a psychopath.

"Psychopathy is characterized by impulsivity. They are going to snap the photos and put them online right away. They want to see themselves. They don’t want to spend time editing," says Jesse Fox, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State.

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Instead, your kissy face fella in sepia ranks pretty high on the narcissism and self-objectification scales!

Of course, this doesn't mean your oversharing boyfriend or the guy with the bad mirror selfie on Hinge is necessarily a full-blown psychopath. The men in the study all scored within the normal range of behavior — but with higher than average levels of these anti-social traits. I think we can all agree though that they're definitely not sending a good message.

This is also one of the first times self-objectification (aka valuing your appearance over all other positive traits) has been studied in heterosexual men, the researchers pointed out.

"We know that self-objectification leads to a lot of terrible things, like depression and eating disorders in women," Fox said. "With the growing use of social networks, everyone is more concerned with their appearance. That means self-objectification may become a bigger problem for men, as well as for women."

You're probably wondering about where women fall on these scales.

Well, this study only looked at American males and there's no comparable data for us yet either. So, until there is, keep posing loud and proud with that selfie stick, ladies.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissist, you are not alone.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong.

If you feel as though you may be in danger, there is support available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474, or log onto

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Michelle Toglia is the Executive Editor at Elite Daily, overseeing the site's entertainment, news, style, dating, and experiences coverage.