New research has revealed that a Facebook status can tell a lot about someone’s personality. Indeed, it can indicate neurotic and narcissistic personalities. The study was completed by Brunel University, which analyzed 555 different Facebook users.
Psychologists at Brunel University London surveyed Facebook users to examine the personality traits and motives that influence the topics they choose to write about in their status updates – something that few previous studies have explored. The data was collected from 555 Facebook users who completed online surveys measuring the ‘Big Five’ personality traits – extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness – as well as self-esteem and narcissism.
The results of the study were fascinating to say the least. It demonstrated that people who posted a lot about social events showed a lot of extroversion. Additionally, it was found that they used the platform in order to communicate with others.
At the same time, however, neurotic people would most often post status updates that were far more personal. They would update people on the status of their relationship, for instance. They are also more likely to air their dirty laundry on the platform. The researchers believe that this is because they seek “validation” for their feelings.
Another interesting result was that people who have an open personality type would not actually share any personal information. Rather, they use the platform to discuss their political views and share events and research. They seem to want to educate people on their views, in other words.
It also uncovered that “conscientious” people would post a lot of updates about their children. The researchers believe that this could indicate they are actually competitive parents. A status update on a child’s achievements, for instance, can indirectly be an indication of excellent parenting.
Then, there are people with low self-esteem. They would often make status updates that reflect their romantic life. However, what sets them apart from the neurotic people is that they do not seek validation in sharing their information. The hypothesis is that those who post information about their relationship do so on days that they are feeling particularly insecure. Posting a status like this could be a method used to stake a claim on their own relationship, trying to prove to the world that they are doing fine.
Lastly, there were the narcissist. They seem to speak most frequently about their diet and exercise routine. This is because narcissist feel that personal appearance is incredibly important. What makes them narcissistic, however, is not that they find personal appearance important, but that they find it more important than any of the control variables that were placed on the study by the researchers.
Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays.
Naturally, there are limitations to the study, which researchers have immediately admitted to. The reason why it is limited is because the results come from “self reported behavior on Facebook.” They also believe that there may be some skewed results, as it is possible that those who score high on the narcissism scale may not have been entirely forthcoming with the number of comments and likes they received. Indeed, it is possible that they highly exaggerated this, which would further perpetuate the idea that they are narcissist.
At the same time, however, it was found that narcissists had far more frequent status updates. This is believed to be because they want validation from the community at large. Boasting leads to rewards, which is what most people are after.