Selfie Psychology: How Photos Help Us Claim Our Identities

Ellen DeGeneres' star-studded Oscars selfie may have broken Twitter records this week — but it was just a drop in the bucket, not just of its selfie traffic but also of the long and storied history of selfies. It's a history that may have started with an 1839 early photograph by Robert Cornelius and included a wide-angle 1920 group shot by five dapper men. One expert says the explanation for selfies' longevity may lie in the role they play in how they help us carve out, and perform, our identities. Taking too many selfies may reek of narcissism, but it's a function of our very human need to assert who we are, just as is our habit of surrounding ourselves with tootles that serve as external connections to our internal lives.

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