Selfies on this side of your face make you look happier — here's the science behind why


The selfie phenomenon isn't losing steam anytime soon. Millennials are spending roughly seven minutes for each selfie they take (damn, you can almost boil an egg in that time!) and psychologists are finding the act of taking a selfie to be addictive

But when it comes to taking the perfect photo, not all self portraits are created equal.

Scientists say a left-sided selfie makes you seem happier. A recent small-scale study published in the journal Brain and Cognition discovered that taking a left sided picture has its advantages. When 81 subjects were presented with photographs and asked to pick which images looked the happiest, most participants picked the portraits with left-sided images.

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Why is this the case? One explanation has to do with the "left-cheek bias." The right hemisphere of the brain is involved with processing emotions so the left side of the face is said to convey more sentiment. People are more likely to pose with their left side of their face in portraits and photographs, leading researchers to believe that humans instinctively know the left side of the face emotes more.

In 2015, Stanford gradute student Andrej Karpathy trained a Convolutional Neural Network to analyze 2 million selfies to see what makes a good selfie based on engagement. Karpethy's network found that the photography principle of the "rule of thirds" were used in the best selfies — when the face makes up the top one-third of the image. The worst selfies, meanwhile, were the ones where the face took up the entire frame.

Looking for more selfie advice? The de facto queen of selfies, Kim Kardashian, gave Marie Claire her selfie tips last year. One bit of advice is to "hold a white napkin or paper towel near your face to neutralize the flash of your camera when you're taking a selfie." Another technique that works for the reality star and business woman is to keep her chin down and her camera angled from above.

If you're going to suffer the reputation of being narcissistic and even a psychopath — an ongoing study made this finding among men who take more selfies — you might as well look good doing it.