Using the model we developed in the context of physical environments, the goal of this research is to examine how people form impressions of others based on their virtual environments (e.g., websites, Facebook profiles). When you look at someone’s website, you make judgments about them without knowing anything else about them. Are these judgments accurate? What messages do personal websites convey about their authors? What personality characteristics can we accurately deduce from websites?
Our research on personal websites follows the same basic procedure as our studies of bedrooms and offices, but focuses on the role of intentional identity claims in interpersonal perception. Some of the questions this research is addressing are: What level of consensus and accuracy can we achieve when forming impressions based on personal websites? For which traits are we most accurate? How do observers’ impressions compare to targets’ reports of their ideal selves? What characteristics of personal websites elicit higher levels of consensus and accuracy? What role do stereotypes play in personality impressions based on personal websites?