Friends and partners are more alike than previously thought
Ever wondered why your best friend is your best friend? We might have an idea now. New research suggests that you may have more personality traits in common with your friends and partners than previously thought.
Studies have already shown that friends and romantic partners often share certain characteristics such as age, education, and intelligence. First author on the new study Youyou Wu from the University of Cambridge, along with researchers from Stony Brook University in New York state and Stanford University in California, used a Facebook app called MyPersonality to collect Facebook data and personality questionnaire scores from 295,320 participants.
Using the data and statistical models, the team assessed personality traits from Facebook Likes and status updates. Their findings revealed significant similarities in personality traits between friends and between romantic partners.
The team believe that previous studies had failed to find an association as they had asked individuals to rate their own personality traits using self-report questionnaires.
“When people answer questions such as ‘Are you well-organised?, they naturally end up comparing themselves to those around them,” said co-author Michal Kosinski, “In other words, if you are surrounded by very well-organised people, you may judge your own conscientiousness more harshly. Conversely, a relatively messy individual, living in a dorm filled with others who are even messier, might see herself as a beacon of cleanliness and order.”
Wu explained how their approach avoided such bias: “People who like ‘Salvador Dali’ or ‘meditation’, for example, tend to score high on openness to new experiences. The advantage of this approach is that everyone is being judged against a universal standard, leaving less room for subjective judgment.”
The findings can be found published online in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
THE TEAM ASSESSED PERSONALITY TRAITS FROM FACEBOOK LIKES AND STATUS UPDATES. THEY FOUND SIGNIFICANT SIMILARITIES IN PERSONALITIES BETWEEN FRIENDS