Published on 29 September 2014
Are the people who comment on online news sites all narcissists, neurotics or extraverts?
USC academics from two different disciplines are collaborating in a bid to answer that question by establishing which personality types are more likely to think their views on the news are worth sharing.
Senior Lecturer in Journalism Dr Renee Barnes has teamed up with Professor of Psychology Doug Mahar to conduct a national survey of people who leave comments on online news websites.
They are investigating whether those with particular personality traits are more likely to leave comments, avoid commenting or joining discussions, leave repeat comments, converse with other commenters, or take part in behaviours associated with trolling.
Professor Mahar cites previous research about people who interact on the internet more broadly, not necessarily on news sites.
“The personality traits of extraversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and narcissism are more prevalent,” he said.
“This new research project will look specifically at the personality types of people who comment on news websites.”
Dr Barnes, a former ABC online news journalist, said news organisations aimed to attract a wide variety of views from the public on their websites but weren’t always successful.
“Our research could point to steps news organisations could take to ensure a wider variety of personality types take part in online discussions,” she said.
“Our survey is open now and we encourage everyone, whether you leave comments on news websites or not, to take part,” she said. “We are keen to hear from the broadest possible range of people.”
The confidential survey, which takes about five minutes to complete, is online at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/personalitynews
— Jane Cameron