TIME psychology

What People Learn About You From Your Selfies

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Woman looking at reflection Vintage Images—www.jupiterimages.com

The pictures you post online could affect the way people treat you in person

According to new research, there are scientific reasons why you judged that girl who posted a selfie on Instagram last night.

It’s no secret that people make snap judgments about each other, but the study, conducted by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of York, was able to accurately predict what those judgments would be based on facial measurements such as “eye height” and “eyebrow width.”

Previous studies have shown that first impressions often fall into three categories: approachability, dominance, and attractiveness. The researchers at the University of York took 1,000 photographs from the Internet, analyzed the facial features of the subjects (who were all Caucasian), and studied how people reacted to each photograph. They were then able to develop a statistical model that predicted what the viewer’s impression of the face would be based on the measured facial features.

The findings of this study help illuminate the importance of these impressions in an age of social media, in which pictures of faces proliferate and people meet, talk, and even date online. According to the researchers‘ report, curating the perfect photo for these websites isn’t as trivial as it seems. “Some of the features that are associated with first impressions are linked to changeable properties of the face or setting that are specific to a given image,” they wrote. “So things like expression, pose, camera position, lighting can all in principle contribute alongside the structure of our faces themselves.”

Perhaps the most surprising finding was that snap judgments based on a photo could shape the way we respond to a person even after we’ve met them in person. The researchers explain it this way in the introduction to their report: “Although first impressions are formed rapidly to faces, they are by no means fleeting in their consequences. Instead… facial appearance can affect behavior, changing the way we interpret social encounters and influencing their outcomes.”

Less surprisingly, the research showed that “masculine” faces, determined by factors such as cheekbone structure, eyebrow height and skin texture, were seen as dominant, whereas more feminine faces were perceived as more attractive and youthful.

But the researchers also found that the shape and size of a person’s mouth directly affected his or her perceived approachability, and that larger eyes tend to predict higher levels of attractiveness.

So it’s time to stop making fun of people who obsess over choosing their profile picture. Richard Vernon, a PhD student who worked on the study, said, “Showing that even supposedly arbitrary features in a face can influence people’s perceptions suggests that careful choice of a photo could make (or break) others’ first impressions of you.”

TIME viral

This Is What It Looks Like When The Queen Photobombs Your Selfie

One is amused

An Australian field hockey player was minding her own business, talking a selfie at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, when her picture was photobombed by the Queen. As in, Elizabeth II, Queen of England.

AND she was smiling.

This wasn’t the Queen’s first time embracing millennial photobomb culture, either:

Royals. They’re just like us.

TIME space

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Takes Selfie to Mark First Year on Mars

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year -- 687 Earth days -- spent exploring the Red Planet.
NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year -- 687 Earth days -- spent exploring the Red Planet. NASA/JPL

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will complete its first Martian year on June 24th. The rover took a ‘selfie’ to commemorate its 687-day stay on the Red Planet — Earth days, that is.

Curiosity made some groundbreaking findings in its first “year” on the planet. In Aug. 2012, Curiosity succeeded in its main mission, to determine if Mars ever harbored the environment to support microbial life. The Curiosity rover drilled into the Martian Gale Crater, in the Yellowknife region, finding a former lakebed containing what NASA called “essential elemental ingredients for life.”

This spring, the rover spent its time collecting sandstone samples in Windjana, an area south west of the original Bradbury Landing site. The rover will continue moving south west towards Mount Sharp, its final destination.

TIME movies

VIDEO: Space Aliens Meet iPhones in an Exclusive Clip from Earth to Echo

Unlike E.T., today's aliens want to use the phone to do something other than call home

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The idea that aliens might choose to communicate with Earthlings via our technology is far from a new one. It’s in movies from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Contact, and — sort of — in real life, as the choice to send vinyl records on the Voyager space explorer shows. But none of the people involved in those stories had something that almost everyone has today: a cell phone.

The upcoming movie Earth to Echo, out July 2, changes that. A bit of family-friendly sci-fi in the E.T. vein, it’s about a group of friends who — after receiving strange cell phone messages — suspect that something fishy is going on in their neighborhood, right before the area is to be bulldozed for a highway construction project. And, as the exclusive sneak peek above shows, the kids at the center of the story are more than proficient when it comes to their phones.

The phones are also how first contact takes place—as seen in a second clip, below—and how some of the movie’s scenes are presented, mixing a found-footage style with the first-person GoPro aesthetic.

The idea that cell phones would ruin the plots of older movies isn’t a new one — for example, the entire plot of Home Alone could have been avoided if Kevin could call his folks at the airport — but not everything is messed up by constant communication. As Earth to Echo shows, sometimes the cell phone is the plot.

TIME World Cup

German Chancellor Takes Victory Selfie With World Cup Player

The German national team beat Portugal 4-0 Monday

German Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrated her country’s World Cup win against Portugal Monday by taking a selfie with team striker Lukas Podolski.

Merkel watched Germany’s 4-0 victory and Thomas Muller’s hat trick in person, having traveled to Salvador, Brazil on Sunday to watch the Monday matchup.

Merkel visited the team’s locker room after the game to offer her congratulations and pose for pictures.

Team Germany’s next match comes Saturday, when it will face Ghana.

TIME Internet

WATCH: Woman’s Hair Catches Fire as She Tries to Get in a Selfie

Definitive proof that vertical videos are terrible -- and dangerous

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Avid smartphone users already know that recording videos vertically instead of horizontally is gauche — or call it “Vertical Video Syndrome”). Now we’ve learned that technique can be incredibly dangerous. This clip shows a guy filming a video selfie at a restaurant and his friend across the table attempting to lean in (no, not that kind of Leaning In). In the process, her hair grazes a candle and catches fire, and everyone freaks out because a part of her was just on fire.

Now, if only this man had simply tilted his phone and recorded a horizontal video, none of this would have happened.

TIME celebrities

Brad Paisley Took a Very Unimpressed Selfie With the Westboro Baptist Church

Members of the extremist church was picketing his concert Sunday

Country singer Brad Paisley is an equal opportunity selfie-taker.

Before a Kansas concert Sunday, the country singer decided to take a picture with members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who happened to be protesting outside. Paisley, 41, posted the image to his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages along with the caption: “Westboro Baptist Selfie!! Or west-Burro(ass) selfie. Hopefully they can hear the show out here. We’ll play loud.”

The photo has almost 238,000 Facebook likes and counting two days later. Many fans have posted messages of support for Paisley and ridicule of the extremist group.

The church wasn’t as sure that Paisley was mocking them:

The Westboro Baptist Church has protested other country stars, including Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift.

 

TIME World

These Selfies Atop Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer Statue Beat All Other Selfies

Time to pack it up and go home, everybody

Your bathroom mirror selfies are about to look even sadder than usual when you see these crazy epic selfies taken from the top of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

Photographer Lee Thompson managed to obtain special permission to climb to the top of the statue while in Rio covering the World Cup, he explains in a blog post on The Flash Pack. Though we doubt anyone would give him a hard time, he got a bit defensive about the whole selfie craze and offered this explanation:

To some, taking pictures of yourself is considered vain, but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taught me that the selfie is a powerful medium through which we can share our perspectives, inspirations and personal stories with the world at large. It’s not about funny mugshots with scenic backdrops or daredevil stunts. It’s a way to mark the moment and say, “I was here”.

Check out the video Thompson and his colleague took during the process:

 

TIME space

See If You Can Find Yourself in NASA’s #GlobalSelfie

It's probably the biggest selfie ever.

NASA created this giant selfie of Earth using selfies of individuals sent in from around the world. Can you spot yourself? It’s like the ultimate version of Where’s Waldo.

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