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An App Knows You Better than Your Real Life Friends

By Magdeline Lum

Facebook “likes” can profile your personality more accurately than your friends and co-workers.

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An app on Facebook has proven to be a better judge of personality than close friends and family. A study led by a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University recruited 86,220 volunteers who provided access to their Facebook “likes”.

As part of this study the volunteers completed a 100-item personality questionnaire using an app called myPersonality, and self-reported personality scores that measured the five major personality traits – conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, openness and neuroticism. More than 17,000 of this group had one family member or friend judge their personality traits from a 10-item personality test, while more than 14,000 were judged by two.

The results of the study showed that myPersonality could predict a user’s personality better than a co-worker based on just 10 Facebook likes. And when myPersonality went head-to-head with friends, the app came out top again – it was better at predicting personality traits than a friend who had been given 70 Facebook likes.

However, the app could not match family, requiring 150 Facebook likes to predict personality traits better than a parent or sibling, and 300 Facebook likes for a spouse.

The average Facebook user in this study liked 227 Facebook pages.

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