Facebook Reflects the Real You
Profiles on the Social Networking Site Reflect Reality
WebMD News Archive
Feb. 18, 2010 -- The image you present to the world on Facebook is likely to
reflect the real you.
This finding is from a study by psychologists who sought to learn whether
people fake it on Facebook and similar social networks, leaving “friends” with
It turns out that people who spend time on social networking sites paint
near-mirror images of themselves instead of trying to pump themselves up to
leave idealized clues about who they really are.
People present accurate images of themselves either because they "aren’t
trying to look good, or because they are trying and failing to pull it off,"
study researcher Sam Gosling, PhD, of the University of Texas, says in a news
The researchers gave questionnaires to 236 college-age users of social
networking sites -- Facebook in the U.S. and Studi VZ and Schueler VZ in
Germany. These tests revealed the volunteers' actual and idealized personality
traits. The results were then correlated with ratings by friends and
Researchers say there was no evidence of attempts to self-idealize
This suggests that people use online profiles to express themselves and to
communicate who they really are, and not to create false impressions.
"Being able to express personality accurately ... satisfies a basic
need to be known by others," Gosling says.
The new finding goes against a widely held assumption that people use
profiles to create and project idealized thoughts about themselves -- perhaps
who they’d like to be.
The study appears in the February issue of Psychological Science.