Virtual Person Perception: What Does Your Personal Computer Desktop Say About You?

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


The Ohio State University

Research Projects

Organizational Units

Journal Issue


People provide insight into their personality through the physical and digital environments they inhabit. To what extent are these personality cues perceivable through more restricted digital environments? The current study examined whether one's personality can be perceived by others using only cues on personal computer desktops. In Phase 1, participants agreed to have a photo taken of their personal computer desktop and subsequently took a series of general (e.g., Big 5 personality traits) and specific (e.g., Narcissism) personality measures. In Phase 2, the personal computer desktop photos in Phase 1 were presented to trained coders who attempted to perceive the personality of each desktop owner. Demonstrating digital personality perception, I hypothesized significant positive correlations between participants' self-reported personality ratings and the personality ratings of the coders (i.e., self-other overlap) on global personality traits (e.g., openness, consciousness, and extraversion). Results revealed coders were not able to accurately perceive personality from personal computer desktop cues as there were no significant correlations between the participants' and coders' personality ratings. These data suggest personal computer desktops may be a boundary condition; personal computer desktops may not possess enough personality cues for the owner's personality to be accurately perceived.


The Ohio State University Newark 15th Annual Student Research Forum (2nd Place Proposed Oral Presentation)
The Ohio State University Newark Student Research Grant, Approved (Midwestern Psychological Association Poster Board Presentation)


person perception, media, social psychology, media psychology