Connecting with… Sam Gosling: Facebook Psychologist

This is originally from the Facebook Blog:

Sam Gosling researcher psychologistAt Facebook, we’re constantly connecting with interesting people—from experts in their field, academics and researchers to celebrities or visitors to our office. Occasionally, we’ll share these conversations on the Facebook Blog in our “Connecting with….” series. I had the opportunity to speak with Sam Gosling, professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and author of “Snoop: What your stuff says about you.” He recently published research that found that people are expressing their real personalities on social networks like Facebook, rather than inflated takes on themselves.

What made you interested in researching the psychology behind people’s profile on Facebook and social networking generally?

I think it was a confluence of two different forces. First, I had already done a lot of research on how you can look at people’s physical spaces as reflections of what people are like and how people use that physical space to communicate messages to others and make them feel certain ways. …It just seemed quite a natural extension to apply this approach to a virtual space…

Second, so many people are on the social networking sites. And although from the outside their activities may appear frivolous, they clearly aren’t because so many people devote so much time and psychological energy to them.

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