Saturday, December 05, 2009

Private Investigator: Is Your Facebook Personality Genuine?

The scientists, led by a psychology professor, Sam Gosling, collected 236 profiles of young adults on Facebook as well as a similar social networking site in Germany. The researchers used personality questionnaires and interviewed friends to determine the profile owners’ actual personalities, assessing traits like extroversion, agreeableness, openness, neuroticism and conscientiousness. The survey also measured how they wished to be, assessing their ideal personality traits. Using the same rating system, the researchers also assessed each user’s personality based on the information provided in the online profile.

The researchers expected the Facebook profiles to match an idealized version of the user’s personality. But to their surprise, the online Facebook profile matched the real-world personality test.

Dr. Gosling said the findings suggested that online social networks could provide users with an opportunity for genuine social interactions.
“Is Facebook an opportunity to promote ourselves, a P.R. exercise? Or is it just another medium of social communication, like the telephone?” Dr. Gosling said. “This research suggests the latter. Young adults are using it as a way to communicate and leaving lots of clues about what they’re really like.”

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