Actions speak louder than personality: Effects of facebook content on personality perceptions

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North American Journal of Psychology
More employers are using Facebook content to evaluate employee characteristics (such as personality) that might influence job performance (Karl & Peluchette, 2009) believing that personality assessment of Facebook users is actually quite accurate (Kluemper & Rosen, 2009). However, researchers have not examined the impact of specific content on personality perception. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to determine the influence of content (professional, moderately professional, unprofessional) on evaluations of a target Facebook user’s personality. Participants were exposed to three real Facebook profiles that varied in the amount of inappropriate content (e.g., drinking, use of profanity, etc.) and were asked to separately rate levels of the Big Five personality characteristics for each of the Facebook users. Overall, participants were better at assessing the personality of the professional Facebook user (with no inappropriate content) compared to the users who had either moderately-professional or unprofessional content. In addition, there appears to be a 'cost' associated with posting even a small amount of 'negative content,' in that participants exhibited inaccurate personality perceptions of the moderately-professional user. These findings may be particularly important when one considers that employers are using Facebook information to evaluate prospective employees in the hiring process. Given the massive distortions in personality perceptions found in the current study, caution should be taken by those using Facebook to evaluate personality and Facebook users should take caution when posting negative content. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences, Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS::Technology and social change
Goodmon, L. B., Smith, P. L., Ivancevich, D., & Lundberg, S. (2014). Actions speak louder than personality: Effects of Facebook content on personality perceptions. North American Journal of Psychology, 16(1), 105–120.