Research Says Facebook Knows You Better Than Your Mom

Your behavior on the social network may say more about your personality than your friends or family can.

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"Liking" your favorite band, book, or TV show on Facebook may say a lot more about who you are than you think. In fact, those likes may even be more accurate at judging your personality than your friends and family are, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University.

Participants took personality-based surveys and had their friends and family members complete a version as well. The researchers then used a computer program to sift through Facebook likes of more than 85,000 participants, looking for connections between personality traits and likes of various statuses, pages, and hobbies. Researchers looked specifically for personality traits such as openness, conscientiousness, and how extroverted participants were. They found some clear connections. For example, extroverts tended to like Snookie, parties, and dancing, but those who liked TED talks, Salvador Dali, and meditation were more likely to be considered "open," Time reported.

The computer program predicted personality more accurately than the participants' surveyed friends and family. It took only 10 likes for the computer program to judge personality better than a coworker, 70 likes to out-judge a friend, 150 likes for the machine to score higher than a family member, and 300 likes to out-perform a spouse. 

The researchers hope that mapping out these connections can help marketers better match products with consumers and job recruiters find better fits. "The ability to judge personality is an essential component of social livingfrom day-to-day decisions to long-term plans such as whom to marry, trust, hire or elect as president," researcher David Stillwell said in a statement.