Monday, August 26, 2013

University of Cambridge's Facebook Research

University of Cambridge's Psychometric Center has used statistics to make make personality predictions based upon an individual's Facebook "likes".

For instance, your likes can be used to create your Big Five personality trait profile. Your students can have their data FB "likes" analyzed at YouAreWhatYouLike.com as to determine their Big Five traits. After your students complete the FB version of the scale, you could have your students complete a more traditional paper and pencil version of the inventory and discuss differences/similarities/concurrent validity between the two measures. Below, I've included a screen grab of my FB-derived Big Five rating from YouAreWhatYouLike.com. Note: Yes, that is how I score on more traditional versions of the same scale.

Generated at YouAreWhatYouLike.com


In addition to Big Five prediction, the researchers also used the "like" data to make predictions of other qualities, like sexual orientation, intelligence, etc., based upon what you have liked on FB. Highlights: Liking curly fries is related to high intelligence, liking fan fiction with introversion, and a fondness for Timmy from South Park seems to be related with competitiveness.

And...if you register as a collaborator at the UofC website, you can access some of their data. Which is pretty generous, I think.

Here is the information regarding the data from the actual source.

2 comments:

  1. Just saw Rob McEntarffer's post on the High School Psych Blog for your blog- I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE! Is this "Big Five" prediction off of Facebook an example of "predictive" and/or "criterion" validity? My results were fairly close with NEO-PI Big Five test from Penn State! I actually preferred my Facebook prediction from "YouAreWhatYouLike": It seems I am more "open" - even "imaginative" whereas my Big Five results said "open," but that I did not have a "vivid imagination." What an interesting discussion this could make in the classroom! Is Facebook used to project the person we want to be? Is it an accurate portrayal of our real-self? Does "YouAreWhatYouLike" have predictive validity? WOW! Thanks

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    1. Great ideas, mvita! I'm a social psychologist, so as I reflect upon your response, I think of impression management theory and how I could use this in my social psychology class. I hope that you have a great Fall Semester!

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