Your Facebook statuses tell people about a lot more than just your passive-aggressive fight with your boyfriend, says the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. A new study found that the language used in your Facebook posts reveals certain personality traits. While that may not exactly shock you — I mean, the point of a Facebook status in the first place is essentially to express your personality — the associations between different words and specific personality traits, like introversion or extroversion, are really interesting.
The University of Pennsylvania study examined status updates from 66,000 people who also used a third party personality quiz app — and before you ask, I don’t know what the app was called, sadly. If I did, I would tell you, because I’m just as curious as you are to see if a random app could tell me if I’m an introvert or an extravert.
In terms of “personality” it looked specifically at openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, or what psychologists call the Big Five. Psychologists look at these traits in particular because they don’t tend to change a lot based on your mood.
In an email to New York Magazine’s Science of Us, the lead researcher explained:
After identifying the words and phrases that correlate with personality traits (like missin and extraversion), we developed a predictive algorithm could use just the words from Facebook updates to accurately assess a user's big five traits — at least as well as their friends can (and friends are surprisingly good judges of our personalities!).
So the good news is, even though you can’t use this mysterious algorithm to find out about your personality, you can just ask your friends. You just have to promise not to get mad at them, though, even if they tell you you’re really neurotic.
Take a look at some of the word clouds. It’s pretty hilarious how accurate they are. My personal fave is “low predicted agreeableness” whose picture is literally just a cluster of swear words and the word “kill.”
Also, was anyone else surprised that the low extraversion cluster didn’t have “cat” or “tea”? Just me, then?
Images: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (3); Giphy (2)