Tech

What your profile picture actually says about you (according to science)

Posted by
Nick Pope
Published

You always know when you’ve found the perfect profile picture. You’ll be scrolling through a morning after photo album, wincing away as thoughts of ‘does my face actually look like that?’ roam your head, until you finally happen upon the chosen one.

It could be the lighting, or the fact you look a little less iron-deficient than usual – OR it could be down to your personality type, according to social media researchers.

University of Pennsylvania students have found that our social media profiles could be revealing far more than anyone expects.

By analysing 6,600 Twitter pictures and interviewing 440 people out of that pool, researchers have found that they can accurately predict personality traits from just a single profile image.

And they’ve come to three categorical conclusions…

  • What your profile picture actually says about you (according to science)

    Outgoing personality

    They found that outgoing, extroverted types tend to have profile pictures which are colourful. They're usually also surrounded by other people.

  • What your profile picture actually says about you (according to science) 1

    Open personality

    People with ‘open’ personalities tend to have well-photographed images with high contrast, which are less likely to be blurred.

  • What your profile picture actually says about you (according to science) 2

    Neurotic personality

    Neurotic people – worriers, in other words –  tend to have profile pictures featuring simple, uncolourful images. They often avoid featuring their face.

  • What your profile picture actually says about you (according to science) 3

    Your mum

    She loves Minions, your mum, doesn't she? No idea why. She's never seen the films.

    This wasn't part of the study, but go look on your mum's profile. It checks out.