Social media can reveal a lot about who we are – but who we interact with and what we write in tweets isn’t the most revealing aspect of our online lives, according to researchers.
What kind of picture we choose as our profile pic can reveal our personality with “robust accuracy," according to a group of researchers who analysed more than 66,000 people’s personalities and Twitter profile pictures.
Here’s how to spot each of the five main personality traits.
Users who are more open-minded and curious are most likely to have profile pictures of something other than their face, showing a rebellion against what’s expected. Their photos are usually of good quality.
For those that do feature a face, users are more likely to be wearing reading classes, but not sunglasses – and faces are more likely to show negative emotions than positive ones.
People who are conscientious are prone to planned behaviour and self-discipline. Their profile pictures are most likely to have one face, indicating their tendency to prefer accepted behaviour.
Their photos are more colourful, natural and bright – and they pick photos that make them seem older than they are. Their photos express the most emotion, which isn’t indicative of real life, but the researchers suggest this could be because a person is expected to smile and appear happy in their picture.
Extraverts tend to have the most colourful images, and typically feature more people. They often appear younger in their photo, or are photographed with younger people. And there are very few reading glasses to be seen.
These people are associated with social cohesion and cooperation. Their photos often have faces, and are bright and colourful – but tend to be blurrier. Their photos feature more positive emotions than negative ones.
This trait is associated with negative emotions and emotional instability. People with this trait are less likely to have colourful photos, and more likely to express negative emotions than other groups. Profile pics are less likely to include faces, and are likely to display emotional neutrality.
You can read more about the study here.