Facebook status updates indicates whether a user is narcissistic or neurotic, research finds

Study examined more than 500 surveys from Facebook users

Rose Troup Buchanan
Saturday 23 May 2015 13:37

A new study has revealed what Facebook updates say about users.

The Brunel University study analysed 555 online surveys taken by regular Facebook users and found people with certain personality types, such as extroversion, openness, narcissism, neuroticism and conscientiousness, updated their Facebook in specific ways.

Extroverts were found to post frequently about social events with the huge majority only using the social networking site in order to communicate.

Neurotic personalities were more likely to post personal status updates, such as updating friends on their relationships, with the study suggesting users were motivated by a need for “validation”.

Conversely, individuals who would be termed open in personality traits were found not to share personal information but instead primarily updated their Facebook status about “events, research, or their political views”.

Researchers found that ‘conscientiousness’ individuals mostly posted about their children, with the studying suggesting “perhaps such updates reflect an indirect form of competitive parenting.”

Those with low self-esteem frequently posted about their romantic partner but were not as likely as Neurotic types to use the network as a means of validation.

The study hypothesised that “people are more likely to post relationship-relevant information on Facebook on days when they feel insecure,” adding it was “reasonable” to assume they did so as a way to “claim” their relationship.

Finally, narcissistic personalities were found to “broadcast their diet and exercise routine to express the personal importance they place on physical appearance” above the control variables that researchers placed on the study.

The study’s authors’ noted its limitations, as the results were gathered from participated “self-reported Facebook behavior.” In particular they were concerned that results from individual with narcissistic personality traits may be skewed if they had “not accurately report[ed] the number of likes and comments they receive.”

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