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Computer desktops reveal personalities

What does your PC desktop say about you?

Screen shot

The Microsoft Windows 7 desktop

People who personalise their computer desktops could be revealing more about themselves than they realise, according to new research.

Donna Dawson, a psychologist specialising in personality and behaviour, examined a selection of office workers’ desktops and identified several clues that could indicate a person’s personality.

‘Our desktops are our personal space and as such provide a fairly accurate personality description of an individual,’ she said.

Dawson claims that the personalities can be divided into categories: Generic, Specific place; Goal-orientated; Trophy; Escapist; Artistic and Sociable.

‘My belief is that everything says something about what we’re like. You may not consciously be aware of it but once you know, then your desktop can be used to give off a positive message about who you are.’

PC desktop icons

For example, she said, having too many icons may suggest a person is disorganised and possibly insecure. People with desktop pictures displaying their past successes, meanwhile, risk revealing their egocentric side to colleagues.

The report reveals a number of key personality traits. People who have even icons on either side of the screen value balance and proportion, and tend to keep a cool head in tricky situations while those who have many rows of icons like to keep everything close at hand and to feel in control of their life.

Personal photos as wallpaper reveal a person’s priorities. Often a parent will have a photograph of their child, or a keen traveller will have a photo of an exotic location. Photos of friends show popularity, which is useful in work environments where you need good people skills. By comparison plain blue wallpaper suggests the kind of person who likes to keep their personal life private.

© 2009 The Press Association

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