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Online behaviour predicts personality… no big surprise

Notable pieces of academic research too often fail to receive the public attention they deserve. Not so with a recent article entitled ‘Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans’, which has attracted a flurry of media interest.

Online behaviour is being increasingly mined by psychologists, as vast amounts of information gathered through our everyday use of the internet is readily available to test out their ideas. The team in this study used data from Facebook to predict users’ personality according to the Big Five dimensions (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism). Using a sample of over 80,000 Facebook users, they first asked them to complete a Big Five personality questionnaire then looked at how this predicted their Facebook ‘likes’. Having established links between the Big Five and Facebook likes in part of the sample, they then used this information to predict behaviour in further samples of users. Read more