Your Social Media Posts Refer to Your Personality Traits

March 12, 2020

Kern, Eichstaedt et al (2014) analysed correlations regarding the personality traits of nearly 70,000 Facebook users based on the posts they made over 1.5 years. All the participants had completed a Big Five personality inventory, agreeing also to the use their demographic data and posts.

The main factors of the Big Five are: Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Openness (to Experience).

Below you will find word clouds that distinguished the posts made by people scoring high (on the right) and low (on the left) on a particular trait. The larger the word, the stronger the correlation. Red marks words that occurred more often, blue and grey are used for words that appeared more rarely.

1. Emotional Stability: words used by people with more sensitive nervous system on the left and those used by people having more stable nervous systems on the right.

It appeared that people scoring low on Emotional Stability most often used the word ‘fucking’ but also ‘depressed’ and ‘depression’ as well as other vocabulary referring to negative emotions and conditions (such as ‘sick_of, ‘tired’, ‘alone’, ‘hate’, etc.).

People scoring high on Emotional Stability most often used words such as ‘success’, ‘workout’ and ‘basketball’ (rather unexpected at first glance!) and ‘lakers’ (LA basketball team). Also ‘football’ and ‘volleyball’ came up often, especially among men. Women used besides ‘success’ also ‘blessings, ‘praise’ and ‘beautiful day’, which refer to emotional well-being.

2. Extraversion — words used by more introverted users on the left and more extraverted users on the right.

It appeared that more introverted users were predominantly engaged with anime and manga as well as computers and the Internet in general, including pokemons. They also often used shorthand language.

Extraverted users focused on party and women, excitement and expectations  (cant_wait), expressions of love, ‘chill’, ‘amazing’ and ‘weekend’.

3. Agreeableness or relationship orientation — people more focused on their own needs on the left vs. on other people’s needs on the right.

It seems that aggressive and swear words were more frequent in the vocabulary of people scoring low on Agreeableness. The vocabulary reveals frustration and hostile approach to the world.

On the contrary, people scoring high on Agreeableness seem to live in the world of gratitude and miracles, dominated by words ‘excited’, ‘wonderful’, ‘prayers’, ‘blessed’, ‘amazing’, etc. Less frequent words include an array of religious vocabulary ‘in_christ’, ‘god’s praise’, ‘psalm’, ‘church’, ‘corinthians’.

4. Conscientiousness — less organised, more chaotic and passive people on the left. More systematic, goal-oriented and persistent people on the right.

It is noteworthy that the vocabulary related to low Conscientiousness yet again implies frustration and spending time mostly online. A high score partly relates to high Agreeableness scores (people with positive correlations of these traits could have been more numerous in the sample). In addition, the vocabulary used refers to work: ’ready_for’, ‘to_work’, ‘long day’. However, there are also words indicative of time off: ‘relaxing’, ‘vacation’, ‘weekend’.
Hence, it seems that those who work hard enjoy their vacation more (and post about this on Facebook).

We can also see that people with high Consciousness used words such as ‘great_day’, ‘blessed’, ‘thankful’, ‘wonderful’, ‘success’, etc. So it seems that gratitude, working out and industriousness are harmoniously combined here.

5. Openness — less open, more conservative and practical people on the left; more creative and curious people with higher Openness scores on the right.

Vocabulary associated with lower scores on Openness stands out by ‘cant_wait, ‘u’, ‘ur’, ‘wat and other shorthand language and slang as well as by rarer use of rich nuances and full sentences.

People scoring high on Openness most often used words like ‘universe’, ‘writing’, ‘art’, ‘music’, ‘I’ve’, ‘soul’, ‘dream’, ‘death’. Romantic and creative. Also, there were words like ‘poetry’, ‘strange’, ‘zombie’, ‘epic’. These are workbook examples of Openness.

To sum it up, one can say that the vocabulary used says quite a lot about the personality, be it on social media or other channels. This is useful information for recruiters and serves as food for thought to psychology enthusiasts.

The full article can be accessed here.