What Your Profile Picture Says About Your Personality, According to Scientists

Updated 06/29/17

I’m going to be honest with you: Meticulously scrolling through people’s online profiles is a common activity of mine. What? We’ve all done it. Whether I’m going to be working with someone in the future or I just met them, looking at their Instagram or Facebook lets me gauge a little bit more about their personality. Of course, looking at someone’s life through their social media accounts is not the same thing as actually knowing them, but you’d be surprised just how much you can find out about a person.

In fact, an upcoming research paper aims to reveal exactly how our online presence represents who we are, according to science. One part of the research focuses on how the pictures you post on social media reflect your personality type. The researchers analyzed over 66,000 people’s Facebook pictures in search of traits you can glean "with robust accuracy" just by looking at someone's profile photo.

The researchers used the Big Five method of assigning each user scores for their personality. The dimensions include extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Keep scrolling to learn what they found!

Selfie - Personality
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The results: An extrovert will generally pick a picture that makes them look younger, and they will be crowded with friends. Agreeable people, who get along well with others and are usually liked by everyone, have profile pictures that are bright and vibrant, either with a partner or with a crazy filter. Someone with a conscientious personality is more likely to go with the grain of society. They will generally have a selfie or colorful photo as their profile picture.

Neurotic people, who are usually easily overwhelmed and can be more of a glass-half-empty type of person, have profile pics with darker colors and negative facial expressions. Someone who reflects the personality trait of "openness," who is likely to love new experiences and have beliefs that are out of the ordinary, can be seen in darker profile pictures that don’t necessarily focus on the person’s face. If their face is in the picture, they’re likely to have a more serious expression. 

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So what does your profile picture say about you? Tell us in the comments below!

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