Despite stories of seedy middle-aged men pretending to be teenaged girls and frumpy couples passing themselves off as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in Second Life it turns out you can tell a lot about people's personalities from their blogs. Tal Yarkoni from the University of Colorado at Boulder analysed the content of 694 blogs and matched them with their authors' answers to an online personality questionnaire. The questionnaire used the OCEAN or Big Five descriptions of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism to describe people's personalities. The neurotic bloggers used more words associated with negative emotions while extrovert bloggers were more likely to talk about positive emotions. People with high scores for agreeableness avoided swear words and used more words associated with communality while conscientious bloggers used more words related to achievement. Openness was associated with more use of prepositions, more formal language and longer words.
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