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Personality Perceptions on MySpace: Inaccuracies Predicting an Individual\'s Personality Submission

Status Complete
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 04/01/2010
End Date 04/01/2010
Funding Source Discovery Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 09/25/2010 03:18AM
Keywords Perception, personality, myspace

People

Faculty
  Robert Boeckmann

Student Researchers
  Kresenda Keith

Abstract

Traditional offline social interactions, such as dating and seeking employment, are
moving quickly into an online environment. With more people are signing online and expressing themselves more freely, news headlines appear almost daily warning people about the dangers of giving others the wrong impression through online profiles (Du, MSNBC, August 14, 2007). Despite the warnings regarding reliability and validity on the Internet, about 22% of hiring managers say they look for job candidates' profiles on social networking sites, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, up from 11 % who said they did so in 2006 ("One-in-Five Employers Use Social Networking Sites," 2008). Of the managers who check the sites, 34% said they'd found cause to remove an applicant from consideration.

This study was based on a previous study of personality impressions based on Facebook
profiles by Gosling, Gaddis, and Vazire (2007). Their study concluded that the online
networking web-sites are a valid means of communicating personality, finding significant congruences between predicted personality characteristics and actual values of the Facebook member. They did, however, find that people do engage in some self-enhancement of their Neuroticism and Open-mindedness. With the use of social networking sites for professional evaluation, one has to question if the results found on Facebook are generalizable to other sites. Are users portraying themselves accurately (as seen on Facebook) or are they potentially losing employment and status due to inaccurate assessments?

In this study, utilizing MySpace instead of Facebook, I predicted that when presented
with the MySpace profile of an actual person, an observer will inaccurately predict the MySpace user's personality on each of the traits in a Five Factor Model (FFM): Openness to New Experiences, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Due to previous research's lack of ability to predict Neuroticism with any consistent degree of accuracy. I believed that Neuroticism will also be least accurately predicted trait, showing a negative correlation with a user's true score. I further predicted that the respondents will mispredict each user's overall personality profile, displaying a misinterpretation of the MySpace user due to the vast amount of information and the inability to interpret this data properly as displayed by
negative correlations showing that the respondent predicted a user low in a trait when in fact they were high and vice versa.

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