Can you judge people by their Facebook picture?

November 10, 2009 at 9:41 am | Posted in Dating Tips, News, Social Media | Leave a comment
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Introvert or extrovert? Students in a Sonoma State University were able to accurately judge personality traits most of the time based only on photographs, whether they were staged or not. Credit: Laura Naumann

Consider yourself warned. Facebook is the ubiquitous cross-check for researching the lives and real personalities of prospective employees, friends, and dates. And a recent study confirmed what you already suspected: you are being judged by your photographs, and apparently quite accurately.

We’re not just talking about the ones of you dressed in drag or doing keg stands (although those are also very telling). Photographs contain subtle non-verbal clues that viewers use to identify the subject’s personality traits with surprisingly scary accuracy.

The experiment conducted by researchers at Sonoma State University (who knew they did research there?) used 12 students to judge 123 photos of undergraduate students they had never met before. Half of the viewers judged the undergraduates’ photos in a neutral pose, while the other six judged the same undergraduates in a spontaneous pose. The photographs were judged by the viewers based on 10 personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness (open to experience), likability, self-esteem, loneliness, religiosity and political orientation.

Compared to the self-rating of the 123 undergraduates, the student judges were able to accurately guess the personality traits 70 percent of the time. And the students who viewed the spontaneous photos were able to guess correctly 90 percent of the personality traits with political affiliation being the only crapshoot. Apparently you can tell how emotionally stable someone is with or without the goth clothes, but there is no truth to “looking like a Republican.”

The upside is that you can tweak how you’re being perceived by the photos that you post. But did you really need a study to tell you to choose your Facebook photos wisely?

Source: Yahoo! News


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