by Graham Pierrepoint
We all like to put our best face forward – and, in some cases, we may like to keep a semblance of anonymity in a world of over-sharing and connected devices. All things considered, however, no two Facebook profile pictures are the same – but they all do the same job. In effect, it’s our avatar to the outside world – to our friends, loved ones, co-workers and even complete strangers. According to The Independent, research carried out in recent weeks seems to have whittled down a number of the key factors that go to make up our profile pics – and, ultimately, what they say about us. So – what does yours say about you?
Having analysed over 66,000 profiles taking part in the study, a joint paper between researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Shahid Beheshti University GC and Bryn Mawr College found that there are five main personality factors that can be derived from profile pictures. Firstly, whether or not we are an extrovert – as it was determined that outgoing people have bright, colorful pictures with multiple people involved – this may be a given, of course, but further points made in the study only get more interesting.
If you lead with a positive, smiling photo – one which is bright and slightly off-focus – you are more likely to be socially agreeable. This may mean that no matter how goofy you look in that odd, off-balance pic you roll out from time to time, you’re perceived as a nice person. On the reverse, neuroticism and instability can be identified through those who lead with neutral pictures – not necessarily negative images, but anyone leading with a profile picture that is lacking color or even a face at all may be more likely to be perceived in this way.
However, choosing something other than your face shows that you are open, creative and curious to some degree – and that you are likely to have a high quality photo if you are more this way inclined. However, you are more likely to be showing off a negative emotion than a positive one.
Finally, your profile picture shows off just how conscientious you are – if your photo conveys high emotion or falls in with the expected medium (that is, a simple shot of a face, regardless of emotion), this could indicate that you take more time to self-discipline and that you think deeply about your decisions.
Why not judge your picture on the above criteria and see what you think? The published study can be read here.