A Picture is Worth a Thousand Posts: An Exploratory Examination of Personality Traits and Profile Picture Content

Alyss M. Hudson, Jonathan S. Gore


Despite significant interest in the Big Five personality traits and their association with Facebook, research on the Big Five personality traits and profile picture content, and gender differences in those associations, has been overlooked. We hypothesized that personality traits will be associated with the content of the individual’s profile pictures, and that this association will differ between men and women. Participants (n = 158) were first asked to log into their Facebook account, access their profile pictures, and categorize the content of their profile pictures. Participants then completed an online personality survey at a later date.  The results showed that having a high proportion of profile pictures of oneself with a close other was associated with high levels of extraversion and agreeableness. Gender differences also existed in the association of agreeableness and openness with high proportions of pictures of oneself only as well as high proportions of pictures of close others only.

Full Text:



Carpenter, J. M., Green, M. C., & LaFlam, J. (2011). People or Profiles: Individual differences in online social networking use. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 538-541.

Cross, S. E., & Madson, L. (1997). Models of the self: Self-construals and gender. Psychological Bulletin, 122, 5-37.

Facebook Inc. (2017). Facebook Reports First Quarter 2017 Results. Retrieved from https://investor.fb.com/investor-news/press-release-details/2017/Facebook-Reports-First-Quarter-2017-Results/default.aspx

Graziano, W.G. & Tobin, R. M. (2002). Agreeableness: Dimension of personality or social desirability artifact? Journal of Personality, 70, 695-728.

Haferkamp, N., Eimler, S. C., Papadakis, A., Kruck, J. V. (2012). Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Examining gender differences in self presentation on social networking sites. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15, 91-98.

Hormuth, S. E. (1990). The ecology of the self: Relocation and self-concept change. European monographs in social psychology.

Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1-55.

Hum, N. J., Chamberlin, P. E., Hambright, B. L., Portwood, A. C., Schat, A. C., & Bevan, J. L. (2011). A picture is worth a thousand words. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1828-1833.

Hunt, D. S., & Langstedt, E. (2014). The influence of personality and digital photo sharing. The Journal of Social Media in Society, 3, 42-64.

Ivcevic, Z. & Ambady, N. (2012). Personality impressions from identity claims on Facebook. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1, 38-45.

John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The Big Five Inventory--Versions 4a and 54. Berkeley, CA: University of California,Berkeley, Institute of Personality and Social Research

Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

Kramer, N. C. & Winter, S. (2008). Impression management 2.0. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications, 20, 106-116.

Martens, M. P. (2005). The use of structural equation modeling in counseling psychology research. The Counseling Psychologist, 33, 269-298.

McAndrew, F. T. & Jeong, H. S. (2012). Who does what on Facebook? Age, sex, and relationship status as predictors of Facebook use. Computers in Human Behaviors, 28, 2359-2365.

McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (1999). The Five Factor Theory of Personality. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research, 2nd edition. New York: Guilford.

Muscanell, N. L. & Guadagno, R.E. (2012). Make new friends or keep the old: Gender and personality differences in social networking use. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 107-112.

Nosko, A., Wood, E., & Molema, S. (2010). All about me: Disclosure in online social networking profile: The case of Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 406-418.

Seidman, G. (2013). Self presentation and belonging on Facebook: How personality influences social media use and motivations. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 402-407.

Wang, S. S., Moon, S., Kwon, K. H., Evans, C.A., & Stefanone, M. A. (2010). Faceoff: Implications of visual cues on initiating friendship on Facebook. Computer in Human Behavior, 26, 226-234.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

The Journal of Social Media in Society is published by the Texas Social Media Research Institute, based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.