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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spatial Skills on Facebook?

I recently took one of those Facebook feed reader quizzes where you let something read through your Facebook posts and it gives you some scores -- basically what kind of person you supposedly are. This isn't something I usually do, but I wanted to kind of play around with it and maybe come up with an analysis (and I did and it is as follows):

"Melanie is more spatial than 97% of people."

I can't agree with this. First of all, what does it mean to "be spatial"? Am I physically larger than 97% of people? Do I take up more space? Despite the ambiguity in the statement, I believe I know the intention: spatial reasoning skills.

I don't think there is a good way to determine, through my posts on social networks, what my spatial skills are.

I'll take the compliment, I suppose. I DO, in fact have a fairly 

high (in comparison to the general population:high; in comparison to a "genius": I'm an idiot, to be sure) visual-spatial ability, which is especially interesting given my gender (there was a study(1) that whose results showed that the more sexist a society is (toward women), the lower that females of said society score in a visual-spatial ability area of a cognitive test and that there is no known society where women regularly score higher than men. With this in mind, I highly doubt that I score higher than 97% of the population.(2.)

But, you do have to consider that this is a "facebook feed" test and that it's very possible that its results are wildly inaccurate. With this consideration in mind, you'd have to wonder why the test gives a spatial result. This result alone brings possible inaccuracies to the forefront given the formal nature of accurate(2) psychological testing.

1: I only know this because I dated a really sexist guy a bit back who provided this research as "proof" that men were somehow better than women. I took the research as proof that he was a dick. The study actually was fascinating, though.

2: There are some problems with this.
a.) It's likely they only compare you to people who have also taken the test. It was a Facebook app and as most apps go, they're a distant relative of glitter graphics. I was bored and decided to temporarily give my Facebook profile rabies so I could see what results this "test" gave me. Am I BETTER than everyone who installs an app? No, I install apps. Am I better than glitter graphics lovers. Probably. I'd need some empirical data to prove it, though, which definitely won't happen.
b.) Who says my posts are my own? I often share interesting things I find or maybe I'll post an interesting quote. In addition to this, my tweets are also posted to my Facebook feed and I often manually retweet things (copy and paste vs hitting the retweet button) which will cause it to show up on my feed.