Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The online social networking website, Facebook, has greatly changed the way the world communicates. Face-to-face interactions have been replaced by wall posts, status updates and friends liking posts or leaving comments. This study looks at how certain cues on Facebook profiles relate to personality traits, specifically, extraversion, conscientiousness and emotional stability. Three hypotheses focused on profile photos and how frequently the users change their photo. I predicted that 1) extraversion scores would be higher for participants who use a party scene as their profile photo, 2) conscientiousness scores would be lower for these same participants, and 3) the emotional stability scores would be negatively related to profile photo changing frequency. A total of 170 first year college students at Bryant University were surveyed about personality traits and Facebook usage. Out of this sample, 59 users provided access to their profiles and profile picture for data coding. The first hypothesis, that extraversion and party photos are positively related, was supported. The other two were not. However, additional analyses using the self-reported behaviors from the Facebook usage survey identified several other Facebook characteristics and behaviors that could be used as an indicator for each of the three personality traits studied.

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