What Your Facebook Likes Reveal About Your Personality

Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
In today's computers-are-turning-into-people news, it looks like those machines can be a pretty decent judge of character. According to a new study, a computer model can suss out your personality based on your Facebook data.
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For the study, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, over 86,000 volunteers took a personality quiz that assessed them based on the "Big Five" traits (including openness and conscientiousness). Then, a selection of each participant's friends, family, and coworkers were asked to describe that person's personality.
Finally, a computer model took a stab at figuring out participants' key personality traits, using only their Likes on Facebook (such as books and movies, but not statuses or photos). The results? The computer was about as accurate at judging personalities as the participants' spouses were. And, it did better than their family, friends, roommates, and coworkers. It's true that the computers had been trained to do just this kind of assessment (albeit using a different set of people, their Likes, and their personalities) so the surprising thing isn't that they were accurate — rather, it's that they were more accurate than people who knew the participants in real life.
The researchers also found patterns among participants with certain personality types. For instance, those who were more extraverted tended to "like" dancing, partying, and Snookie (?!?). They were also into Tiffany & Co. jewelry and making other people laugh, one of the study's authors told Motherboard. On the other hand, introverted participants "liked" math, Star Trek, and Minecraft. Participants who were very open to new experiences often "liked" Salvador Dalí, TED talks, and meditation.
Although it's a little creepy to know just how much others can infer based on your Likes, there's also something comforting about knowing that the online versions we've built of ourselves are actually pretty close to the real-world identities we've created. Keep that in mind the next time a selfie-loving dude asks you out.
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