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Are social networking profiles reliable indicators of sensational interests?

By Gareth Hagger-Johnson, Vincent Egan and David Stillwell


Full text of this item is not currently available on the LRA. \ud The final published version is available at, Doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2010.11.013.Sensational interests are sometimes reported on the personal profiles of social networking web sites such as Facebook. Can these reports be validated against established psychometric tools used by forensic psychologists? Given that web sites and personal profiles can be used as evidence of a person’s ‘character’ in legal contexts, evaluating their validity is important. This study evaluated the reliability of extracting data from the interests and activities sections of Facebook profiles, linking them to general personality and Sensational Interests Questionnaire (SIQ) scores. Data from 694 user profiles (N = 352 male) were linked to the Big Five personality traits, age, and educational attainment. Three independent raters coded the number of sensational topics reported by a user in each section. In Poisson regression analyses, higher SIQ Violent Occultism scores predicted a larger count of sensational interests, and sensational activities in males only. Higher SIQ Militarism scores predicted a larger number of sensational interests in males, but a smaller number in females. Although the number of sensational interested reported by social networking users on their personal profiles is potentially informative, further research should investigate gender differences, and why females with greater Militarism scores are less likely to report what these specific interests are

Topics: Big 5, Forensic Psychology, Internet Mediated Research, Psychopathology, Personality Disorders, Personality Measurement, Personality Traits, Sensationl Interests, Social Networking
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jrp.2010.11.013
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