Researchers at Cambridge University have performed a psychological study to determine the significance that Facebook likes could have in determining users’ personality traits. The study revealed that there is a strong connection between the pages that users like and their personal attributes, setting the ground for a new trend in human behaviorism.
Scientists often feel the need to invent things that have already been invented or acknowledge things that have always been present in our lives and introduce them as groundbreaking discoveries. Psychological tests based on people’s likes and dislikes have been used for centuries to determine personality traits, but researchers at Cambridge University thought these were not enough, so they set out to develop a similar theory using Facebook profiles.
Their main assumption: the likes that people normally give on the social network can help scientists determine the sexual orientation, the ethnicity, the political views and the intelligence of users. The study, which was performed on more than 58,000 U.S. Facebook users turned out to be very relevant in the study of human behaviorism.
The data that was gathered with the help of myPersonality app showed that high and low intelligence may be measured based on Facebook likes. Users described as highly intelligent liked “Thunderstorms”, “Science” and “Curly Fries”, whereas low intelligence was related to “Lady Antebellum”, “Sephora” and “I Love Being A Mom”. The same connection was established between male homosexuality and Facebook pages like “No H8 Campaign” and “Mac Cosmetics”. At the opposite end, users who expressed their preferences for “Wu-Tan Clan”, “Shaq” and “Being Confused After Waking Up From Naps” were included in the category of male heterosexuals.
Numerous counterarguments may be brought against the study, if people were actually inclined to take this research into consideration. There are many factors that can influence people’s behavior on the Internet and the study does not take any of those aspects into consideration. Moreover, there is no actual explanation for the link that scientists established between the quantitative data they have gathered and some of the personal traits they have enlisted. Researchers themselves admitted that liking “Curly Fries” is in no way related to high intelligence. Either way, Facebook’s Like button has been introduced to give users the chance to present themselves to their online friends. Yet, there is a significant gap between the image that people create and the persons they truly are and the gap tends to get deeper on the Internet.