Spontaneous Inference of Personality Traits and Effecs on Memory for Online Profiles

Kristin Stecher, Scott Counts

As users navigate online social spaces, they encounter numerous personal profiles, each displaying a unique constellation of attributes. How do users make sense of this information? In our first study, we provide evidence that users spontaneously make personality trait inferences about people from profiles they encounter online, and for certain profiles, preferentially remember this inferred trait content over actual profile content. Study 2 uses several measures of profile coherence to assess how the coherence of user profiles interacts with trait inferences to influence memory for profiles. Findings provide a better understanding of specific profile content that makes profiles memorable and the social-cognitive process utilized when extracting information from profiles.

Subjects: 6. Computer-Human Interaction; 6.3 User Interfaces

Submitted: Feb 13, 2008

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