What does your profile photo say about you?


Everyone knows by now that signing up to social media involves sharing a lot of personal data. While there's steps one can take to lock-down the information on their profile, new research claims that a user's personality type can be identified from their profile photo alone. 

Researchers from Univserity of Pennsylvania used a character assessment software to analyse the profile pictures of 66,000 Twitter users, and asked 434 people to fill in a psychological survey.

The results of the research were published in a paper called Analyzing Personality through Social Media Profile Picture Choice. This paper details how respondents were sorted into the following personality categories: neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion and open to experiences. 


Researchers identified that neurotic people are likely to set an image other than their face as their profile photo as they have trouble holding back their negative emotions. Users in this category tend to use a pet or a building. 

If a neurotic person opts to use an image of their face, the study found that the resulting image would be bland and neutral. According to the study authors, they would rather look miserable, but feel like the "strong social norm against a very sad or angry appearance in profile pictures" prevents them from doing so.


Those deemd to be 'agreeable' are the most likely to be colourful, according to the research and will feature a person laughing or smiliing broadly.

This group is having so much fun that the image quality tends to be poor, badly framed and with low light. 


The team behind the study stated that conscientious people are those who enjoy "orderliness, planned behaviour and self-discipline." They are more likely to appear older than their years in profile pictures.

These traits are represented in their profile pictures through positive emotion. The image will always be perfected framed, and not one hair will be out of place.


Like agreeable people, even extroverts are likely to have colourful profile pictures and are always smiling. They also tend to pose with young people, or adopt other techniques to make themselves appear young than they are.

"Extroverts' images do not have any correlation with the colour attributes that make a photo aesthetically pleasing (contrast, saturation, lack of blur)," according to the study.

Open to Experiences:

Those who fit into this category enjoy tackling new, exciting experiences and are not afraid to pose. More often than not, there is an object in the image such as a guitar or snowboard. 

Research showed that the people in this group tend to take the best photos. 

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