What your profile picture REALLY says about you

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  • Forget eyes, it’s your profile picture that’s the window to your soul

    Is your social media profile picture filled with life, love, LOLs and just oh-so-much fun?

    Or are you staring pensively into the distance with a grainy filter, in an album-cover-ready photo?

    Well, unsurprisingly those science folk have found that by looking at someone’s profile picture, you determine which of the ‘Big Five’ personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience) they have.

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    In a recent paper called, Analyzing Personality Through Social Media Profile Picture Choice, researchers analysed 66,000 Twitter users and collected up to 3,200 of their most recent tweets. Along with this research, 434 tweeters were then given a personality test to see where they scored on the Big Five.

    As well as analysing the general image, researchers also looked into the differences in colour, composition, number of other faces in the picture, demographics, facial presentation and expression.

    They then looked into how each of these correlated with personality types, and discovered that each type in the Big Five does in fact have a specific kind of profile pic.

    Open personalities have profile pictures with a higher aesthetic quality, think sharp images and less blur. We imagine this type of person to have a killer Instagram feed too.

    Participants who exhibited both high levels of openness and neuroticism were likely to not have faces in their pictures, so no selfies for them.

    Neurotic users are likely to have simple, uncolourful pictures.

    Those with colourful, natural and bright profile pictures tested as conscientious.

    Extravert’s also had colourful, natural and bright images, but also had pictures that contained multiple people.

    And people with high levels of agreeableness had pictures that were colourful, bright, but also blurry.

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    Due to the consistency in these results, researchers said you could guess someone’s personality traits with ‘robust accuracy’.

    ‘In general, when examining facial emotion correlation patterns, we highlight two well aligned clusters: openness and neuroticism in one, and conscientiousness, extraversion and agreeableness in the other,’ they wrote.

    Bye for now. We’re off to stalk all our friends’ profile pictures…

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