Controlling our image
BY wangxingwei from 21st Century
Published 2018-10-18
Our profile photo reveals our personality, according to a recent study. CFP

When we meet someone for the first time, we usually get a vague sense of what kind of person they are by the way they shake hands, talk, or walk. In the age of social networking, however, first impressions are sometimes made even before we actually meet someone in person – that is, by looking at their profile photo.
当我们和某人初次见面时,我们通常会从握手、谈话或者走路的方式,对这个人形成一些初步印象。然而,在社交媒体时代,第一印象有时甚至在人们见面之前就形成了 —— 通过看他们的个人头像。

According to a recent study, these social images say a lot about our personality.

In the study, presented in a paper at the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, a group of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in the US used software to analyze the profile pictures of 66,000 users of US social platform Twitter and 3,200 of their tweets. At the same time, about 434 participants were asked to complete a survey about their personality type.

The researchers wanted to find out if there was a connection between personality traits – like openness, extroversion, and neuroticism – and a person’s profile picture.

According to the results, open people are more likely to pose in an unusual way and use objects such as glasses or a guitar in their profile photo because they enjoy new and exciting experiences.

Meanwhile, neurotic people often hold back their negative emotions. They try to avoid showing their face;instead, they use an image of something like a pet, a car or a building. That’s because neurotic people are strongly influenced by the “strong social norm against a very sad or angry appearance in profile pictures,” Daniel Preoiuc-Pietro from the University of Pennsylvania wrote in the research paper.

Apart from the objects in profile pictures, the colors used in them also give us some hints about the photo’s owner.

For example, extraverts were found to have the most colorful profile images, as they want to emphasize their personality and show themselves off, the researchers wrote.

Although social media photos “usually represent an extension of one’s self, they also allow a user to shape his or her own personality and idealized view,” according to the researchers.

So, when choosing a profile photo, maybe we should ask ourselves first what kind of image we’d like to convey. After all, first impressions always last.

(Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Luo Sitian)
Vague  模糊的
Profile photo  头像
Images  图像
Extroversion  外向性
Neuroticism  神经质
Pose  摆姿势
Norm  规范
Extension  延伸
Idealized  理想化的