We all have to have a profile pic somewhere
We all know the bathroom selfie is a social taboo and not recommended for anyone over the age of 17, especially if you want to depict yourself as a semi-intelligent human being. However, do we really know the difference that a closed or open smile would make on a potential employer or date? Do we understand the minutia of psychological processes that are involved when we make instant judgments based on appearance?
The key to having a profile picture that stands out from the rest, one that will astound, amaze, and get you that job at Google (not really, but it helps to dream big), is all in the details. An immense amount of scientific research is available on the psychological effects of having a poor or an excellent profile pic, and it helps to know objectively how your pic holds up to scrutiny.
Is your profile pic conveying what you want it to?
According to a study reported by the journal Psychological Science, it only takes 40 milliseconds to draw a conclusion about a person based on their photo, which is about how long it takes to snap your fingers. This makes sense, especially because, the phrase, “making a snap judgement,” is used so much by our society.
Photofeeler, a great app to help you get feedback about your profile pic via real people voting on your picture, conducted a study that examined over 800 photos, which rated them on three attributes: likeability, influence, and competence.
What they found might be interesting to you, and it might also help you on your way to becoming a top influencer on your LinkedIn profile. Or it may just get you a few more likes when you post a new selfie. The outcome is up to you.
Squinch your eyes, wear a gray suit
The study concentrated on five areas of the profile pic’s composition: eyes, face, body position, setting, and editing, and focused on three attributes; likeability, competence, and influence.
Eyes were perceived the best when squinching, correlating positive increases in all areas. Wearing sunglasses decreased likeability, and obstructing the eyes led to decreases in competence and influence.
Smiling open mouthed while showing teeth, or smiling while laughing showed the greatest increase in likability among all areas.
Wearing a dark gray suit with a neutral background had the most positive correlation with influence, and competence, and no real increase with likeability.
Also, don’t bother with those Instagram filters, because they actually decreased competency, and likeability, and if you are a photographer, or an enthusiast, then you might find that using the rule of thirds is the best approach when taking a profile picture, and showing head and shoulders (not the dandruff shampoo), had the most beguiling effect as opposed to full headshots or body shots.
Time to update your profile pic?
Profile pictures are signposts for our digital personas, and it’s probably one of the most important elements we can have that give a visual impression of our human side.
The importance of having a great profile picture; can’t be understated. Either if it’s for your personal or professional life, your profile pic is something that should be not overlooked.
I think I am going to go change my linked in profile picture now.