Whether you’re an employer scoping out a potential new employee, a parent investigating your child’s teacher or a single looking to mingle, it’s not uncommon to turn to Facebook to get a first impression of someone based on their profile… and more specifically, their profile picture.
But just how much can a profile picture tell you about a person’s intelligence? Because let’s face it, that’s what we really want to know. Is the person we’re Facebook stalking a complete moron or do they appear to be reasonably intelligent?
Researchers at the Psychometrics Centre at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. recently developed an algorithm tasked with determining a person’s intelligence based solely on their profile picture. That may sound incredibly shallow but as the results reveal, there are some connections between a person’s intelligence and how they represent themselves in their Facebook profile picture.
The algorithm studied the Facebook profile pictures of 1,122 users that had taken an IQ test. As Digital Trends points out, the algorithm doesn’t take just take faces into account but other things such as how a user is posing for the camera, the clothes they have on, whether or not they have friends in their photos and more.
As it turns out, common things that humans look for to determine intelligence – think wearing glasses, smiling, etc. – are all red herrings that don’t really tell much at all. Neither do aspects like standing too close to the camera when being photographed.
The algorithm found that truly intelligent people typically only feature themselves in their profile picture. What’s more, their shot is captured in focus with an uncluttered background. The algorithm also found that smart people who are perceived to be smart by others often feature the color green in their profile picture but not red, purple or pink.
Those interested in learning more are encouraged to read the full report, “How smart does your profile image look? Intelligence estimation from social network profile images.”
Image courtesy Bloomua, Shutterstock