Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Facebook profiles capture true personality, according to new psychology research

Date:
December 1, 2009
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Online social networks such as Facebook are being used to express and communicate real personality, instead of an idealized virtual identity, according to new research from psychologists.

Online social networks such as Facebook are being used to express and communicate real personality, instead of an idealized virtual identity, according to new research from psychologist Sam Gosling at The University of Texas at Austin.

Related Articles


"I was surprised by the findings because the widely held assumption is that people are using their profiles to promote an enhanced impression of themselves," says Gosling of the more than 700 million people worldwide who have online profiles. "In fact, our findings suggest that online social networking profiles convey rather accurate images of the profile owners, either because people aren't trying to look good or because they are trying and failing to pull it off.

"These findings suggest that online social networks are not so much about providing positive spin for the profile owners," he adds, "but are instead just another medium for engaging in genuine social interactions, much like the telephone."

Gosling and a team of researchers collected 236 profiles of college-aged people from the United States (Facebook) and Germany (StudiVZ, SchuelerVZ). The researchers used questionnaires to assess the profile owners' actual personality characteristics as well as their ideal-personality traits (how they wished to be). The personality traits included: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness.

In the study, observers rated the profiles of people they did not know. These ratings were then compared to the profile owners' actual personality and their ideal-personality. Personality impressions based on online social network profiles were accurate and were not affected by profile owners' self-idealization.

Accuracy was strongest for extraversion -- paralleling results of face-to-face encounters -- and lowest for neuroticism. Those findings were consistent with previous research showing that neuroticism is difficult to detect without being in person.

"I think that being able to express personality accurately contributes to the popularity of online social networks in two ways," says Gosling. "First, it allows profile owners to let others know who they are and, in doing so, satisfies a basic need to be known by others. Second, it means that profile viewers feel they can trust the information they glean from online social network profiles, building their confidence in the system as a whole."

Gosling recently co-authored a study on how first impressions do matter when it comes to communicating personality through appearance. For his latest personality research, he focuses his attention to personality in relation to online social networks.

Findings will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Researchers include: Gosling and Sam Gaddis (The University of Texas at Austin), Mitja Back, Juliane Stopfer and Boris Egloff (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany), Simine Vazire (Washington University in St. Louis), and Stefan Schmukle (Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster, Germany).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Facebook profiles capture true personality, according to new psychology research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111154.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2009, December 1). Facebook profiles capture true personality, according to new psychology research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111154.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Facebook profiles capture true personality, according to new psychology research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111154.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Alzheimer’s Hope

Alzheimer’s Hope

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — A new drug, BCI-838 offers new hope to halt and possibly reverse the damage of Alzheimer’s disease. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) — Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) — Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins