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More college admissions officers are using Facebook to attract applicants. A recent Kaplan survey reveals that 82 percent of 386 admissions offices that responded used Facebook as a recruiting tool last year, and four out of five respondents said that they had been contacted by a potential applicant through Facebook or MySpace. Last year’s survey found that only one in ten admissions officers had ever looked at a Facebook profile.
Why admissions offices ever blocked out such a valuable source of information is a real head-scratcher. Aside from the benefits of taking a larger look at an applicant’s interests, wall post conversations, scoping out the network of friends and family and other really good and usable material, don’t they know that making personality judgments from a person’s appearance in photographs can totally be an accurate method of assessment supported by hard research? From Science Daily:
In the study, observers viewed full-body photographs of 123 people they had never met before. The targets were viewed either in a controlled pose with a neutral facial expression or in a naturally expressed pose. The accuracy of the judgments was gauged by comparing them to the aggregate of self-ratings and that of three informants who knew the targets well, a criterion now widely regarded as the gold standard in personality research.
Even when viewing the targets in the controlled pose, the observers could accurately judge some major personality traits, including extraversion and self-esteem. But most traits were hard to detect under these conditions. When observers saw naturally expressive behavior (such as a smiling expression or energetic stance), their judgments were accurate for nine of the 10 personality traits. The 10 traits were extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness, likability, self-esteem, loneliness, religiosity and political orientation.
I would also like to add the following words of the very pithy and epigrammatic Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”
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