Did you know that a “like” on Facebook goes beyond thinking that a photo is awesome or trying to get more coupons? USA Today reported that researchers at the University of Cambridge pointed out in a recent report published in the PNAS journal that they can accurately predict human personality traits like sexuality and intelligence based on Facebook likes alone. Likes include status updates, celebrities, photos and many more.
In their report, Cambridge researchers surveyed 58,000 Facebook users in the United States who also completed a battery of personality and IQ tests online. Researchers calculated their data on likes into an algorithm and paired them up with the results of the personality and IQ tests given to users. The likes accurately determined male sexuality 88 percent of the time and were 95 percent accurate in determining whether a user was African-American or White and 85 percent accurate in calculating whether a user was a Democrat or Republican.
Facebook spokesperson Fred Wolens told USA Today that he was not surprised by the report: “No matter the vehicle for information — a bumper sticker, yard sign, logos on clothing, or other data found online — it has already been proven that it is possible for social scientists to draw conclusions about personal attributes based on these characteristics.”
Other interesting tidbits from the Cambridge study include:
- Users who were into Harley Davidson, Lady Antebellum and Sephora were associated with low intelligence.
- Users who liked curly fries and “The Colbert Report” were associated with high intelligence. -Fans of the “Dark Knight” had fewer friends than the average Facebook user.
- Indicators of male homosexuality includes likes for “No H8 Campaign,” “Mac Cosmetics” and “Wicked The Musical,” while accurate predictors of male heterosexuality include likes for “Wu Tang Clan,” “Shaq” and “Being Confused After Waking Up From Naps.”
- “Hello Kitty” fans rated high on openness but low on conscientiousness, agreeableness and emotional stability. They were also more likely to be African-American, support the Democratic party, follow the Christian faith and are slightly below the average age.
- Less than 5 percent of gay Facebook users were associated with explicitly gay groups like “Being Gay,” “Gay Marriage.”
- Liking Barack Obama on Facebook obviously shows support for the Democratic party, but Obama also has a following among Christians, African Americans and homosexuals.