What kind of person blogs? Part two

August 21, 2008 at 8:26 pm (Bloggers) (, )

Well, I’ve had a quick look at the Guadagno paper and I’ve done the Big Five personality test. Disappointingly, I came out as being incredibly neurotic and not very conscientious. More pleasingly, I did confirm my prejudice that I am very dutiful – I’d have made a good Quaker!

The paper has some interesting results, albeit few that are statistically significant. There was an initial study with 89 participants, of whom 22 were bloggers. This means that the initial results on blog authors were based on a sample of 22. There was a statistically significant relationship between openness and blogging (p=0.04) and the relationship between neuroticism was not statistically significant (p=0.11). The authors planned a second study with a larger sample: “The purpose of Study 2 was to replicate and expand upon Study 1 by examining whether we find the same results with a larger sample. We were particularly interested in examining whether neuroticism would significantly predict blogging if the sample size were increased.”

Of the 278 participants in the second study, 44 (16%) reported writing blogs. Unfortunately, due to a technical malfunction, the authors had to report that “data for some of our bloggers were lost so the percentages reported here represent the data for 24 of the 44 bloggers. Despite the loss in data, the results generally replicate our findings from Study 1.” So that larger sample was actually 24 rather than 44 – only two bloggers more than last time. I hope the technical malfunction wasn’t computer-related as that would be a cruel irony given that the study was published in Computers in Human Behavior. Whatever the malfunction, the authors have my sympathy – there’s not much in my everyday life that is more frustrating than a computer malfunction. Lost blog comments when the internet decides to go down, lost work when my PC crashes… my printer’s inability to print page two of the Guadagno study. Little wonder that some people are tempted to ascribe agency to computers when they ‘behave’ like such bastards at times.

Nonetheless, the authors were able to show that “the results of Study 2 replicated the results of Study 1 and demonstrated that, as expected, in a larger sample, neuroticism does predict blogging.” The results of the logistic regression indicated that the significant predictors of blogging were openness to experience and neuroticism (p=<.001 for openness and p=<.01for neuroticism). Hurrah for those open-minded and neurotic types who blog. Of course, it seems obvious that bloggers would tend to be open to new experiences – blogs are relatively new, after all. Neuoticism being associated with blogging was a finding that I perhaps would not have expected.

I imagine the findings may have been different if the authors had looked at different types of blogger (i.e., those blogging on specific subjects). It would be interesting to see the results of a study using the Big Five test and looking at homeopathy blogs, pseudoscicence blogs etc. Perhaps we would even be able to find out if woos genuinely are as angry as I perceive. Or, more trivially, whether purple or lilac blogs correlated with the personality types of the authors.

A few links: My original post on this paper, BPS Research Digest, Teh Abstract, GrrlScientist’s coverage of the paper, Big Five personality test. Guadagno-et-al paper, My personality test.



  1. jdc325 said,

    This post has a record number of views now. A record low, that is. I reckon I’ve written much shitter posts that were viewed by far more people than this one. It seems my finger is most definitely not on the pulse of the blogosphere. Oh well, you live and learn.

  2. Who am I anyway, that I write this here blog? « Sciencegeekgirl said,

    […] blogger wrote about this piece of research, and also found himself high in […]

  3. Brain Duck said,

    Quakers can be all sorts, not sure I’d describe myself as particularly dutiful.

  4. jdc325 said,

    OK, that’s the last time I print an in-joke I have with myself. It’s pointless if unexplained and totally unfunny when it is explained.

    Only (perhaps not even) an Inspector Morse fan would appreciate it. He claims that his mother, a Quaker, inspired in him an overwhelming sense of duty. She also gave him a ‘virtue name’ – Endeavour. Which, handily enough, fitted in with his father’s Captain Cook obsession. There – told you it wasn’t funny.

  5. Irene Adler said,

    Christ, I scored 92 for neurotic and 98 for open to experience. Guess I’d better start a blog… Or, more accurately, write something on the livejournal account I started two years ago.

  6. jdc325 said,

    Do it, do it, do it! And put some in-jokes about detectives in there. Er, possibly.

  7. Irene Adler said,

    Heh. Maybe I will, in-jokes and all. I have no idea what I’d blog about though. Certainly not science…

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